Restorative Justice

Under the aegis of the Northern Virginia Mediation Service (NVMS), I am the co-coordinator of NVMS’ broad restorative justice programming. Since 2007 that programming has evolved to include Fairfax County’s public schools, juvenile court and direct police department referrals.

NVMS – Fairfax CountyPublic Schools Restorative Justice Program
As a demonstration project in 2008, the NVMS-FCPS collaborative effort  commenced with a single case in June 2008. Fairfax County’s largest high school, Westfield High School in Chantilly, VA, was the flagship participating school, but many other schools have participated since then as the project evolved into a program.

The program is open to all of the county’s 200-plus schools: high schools, middle schools, elementary schools and alternative learning centers, although elementary schools account for very few cases. As the program has evolved, many school administrators and other professionals have taken RJ training and refer cases for myriad situations typical of a school setting: fighting, insubordination, internet bullying, harassment, etc.

To implement the program an NVMS-FCPS memorandum of understanding was developed, a pool of facilitators were trained, and a comprehensive package of forms and materials was developed.

After the single trial case at the end of the FY 2008 school year, the program has grown rapidly and is now in its 10th year. Although an FCPS headquarters RJ staff of 6 now handles most cases, NVMS remains involved in training, mentoring and handling school staff conflicts.

Beyond Fairfax County, NVMS was also been centrally involved in the 2015 start up of a school-based RJ program in another Northern Virginia county, Loudoun County, via several rounds of training and mentoring for that program’s first year RJ cases.

NVMS-Fairfax County Juvenile Court and Police Department Program

Owing to the success of our school-based restorative justice program, NVMS now  handles mostly referrals from Fairfax County’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and the Police Department. These referrals are limited to 1st time offenders and include both misdemeanors and many non-violent felonies. After a pilot involving 3 police districts, the program now named the Alternative Accountability Program (AAP) extends to all 7 Fairfax County police districts and over 800 police officers.

Adopting the basic NVMS-devised RJ model which contemplates co-facilitators, referred cases typically employ a veteran NVMS facilitator paired with a Fairfax County probation officer. To facilitate NVMS involvement recent state legislation allows the Police Department to share police reports with designated designated facilitators not employed by Fairfax County (e.g., NVMS facilitators). Upon satisfactory conclusion of a police-referred case, all police reports are destroyed, leaving the participating juvenile with a clean record.

NVMS-Fairfax County Community Programs
On behalf of NVMS I have participated in conflict resolution programming involving conflicts among county staff at a community center. Basic RJ principles were employed and the county seems interested in exploring the use of RJ for conflicts involving public users of county centers (e.g., recreation centers).

Prison Ministry
In June 2010 under the aegis of the Northern Virginia Mediation Service I undertook a project with a person incarcerated in a Virginia correctional  facility examining the possibility of making amends to crime victims prior to release and community reentry.  In April 2013 I participated in “Re-Entry: Beyond the Bars and Barriers,”  a conference supporting successful re-entry for citizens returning to their communities from incarceration.

In August 2015, I participated in a panel facilitating the showing of  “Unlikely Friends,” a forgiveness-related film, at the Petersburg federal prison in Hopewell, VA. In February 2016, I delivered a keynote restorative justice-oriented presentation on prisoner reentry for a conference sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Louisville, KY.

Restorative Justice Training
As shown on my About Me page,I have take advanced restorative justice training from notable practitioners. For example, I have studied community conferencing with Lauren Abramson of the Community Conferencing Center in Baltimore, and restorative justice conferencing with Vickie Shoap in Northern Virginia.

In May 2010 I took a week of training in Chicago for the Defense Initiated Victim Outreach program (DIVO), a program focused on capital crimes and created after the Oklahoma City bombing by leaders in the restorative justice community, such as Howard Zehr and Tammy Krause.  Click to see Kelly Branham’s DIVO article in the Hofstra Law Review.

At the Summer 2009 Eastern Mennonite University Summer Peacebuilding Institute, I took a week of training on  facilitating victim-offender dialogues for serious violent crimes with Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz and Barb Toews.This training drew heavily on Pennsylvania’s well-established Mediation Program for Victims of Violent Crime and I remain hopeful that new victim-offender legislation enacted in early 2010 might generate some dialogue possibilities in Virginia

Dave Deal and classmates at Summer Peacebuilding Institute, Eastern Mennonite University, June 2009.
Deal and classmates at EMU Summer
Peacebuilding Institute, June 2009




    Spring 2017

    Participate in training for Fairfax County Police Department patrol officers for rollout of county-wide Alternative Accountability Program.
    May 2017

    “Working Together for Youth: Multi-Agency Integration of Restorative Justice Programming” article published “ACResolution”, Winter 2017 Restorative Justice issue.
    April 2017

    Completed series of three papers on interpersonal forgiveness for classwork at Virginia Theological Seminary.
    April 26, 2017

    “Introduction to Restorative Justice,” first guest lecture for George Mason University Law School ADR class.
    April 18, 2017

    “Introduction to Restorative Justice,” fifth annual guest lecture for George Washington University Law Center ADR class.
    April 4, 2017

    See All Events »