The Dean House

The best way to get involved with the Valley Justice Coalition is to come to one of our regular Monday meetings. We meet each Monday from noon until 1:00pm at the Dean House, 110 Old S. High St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801. You’ll meet other people who are passionate about criminal justice reform and making a difference in our community. That way, we’ll get to know you to and be able to collaborate.

That said, here’s a few things we can use help with:

  1. Plan an event. It’s crucial that we keep the broader Harrisonburg community involved in what’s going. Not everyone can make it to the dizzying array of meetings where decisions get made. Not everyone can evaluate policy proposals. Yet we believe in a democracy where everyone’s voice matters, and this can be accomplished in part by creating events to share what we’re working on and encourage public dialogue on the ways public decisions impact our community.
  2. Write a politician. State legislators tell us that if they get ten letters on a topic, that’s a big deal. On some topics, you might be the only person they hear from. We work mostly at local levels where each person’s voice can make a difference. Click here for some tips.
  3. Write a letter to the editor. In our local newspaper, the Daily News-Record, letters to the editor must be no more than 150 words, and open forum opinions must be 480-500 words. That’s not very much! On the bright side, this forces you to get straight to the point you’re trying to make. You can do it!
  4. Review research literature. If digging through academic journals is your thing, we have plenty research projects for you. At the time of this writing, the major task is drug court best practices, but there’s always something. We want the most effective policies, practices, and programs for reducing incarceration and supporting desistance from crime, and to do this we need to utilize current research and theory.
  5. Improve this website. Do you have an eye for design? Interest in making infographics and data visualizations? An obsession with organizing? There’ s a lot that can be done to make this site attractive, add content, and share more of the data we have accumulated.

We often work with interns from James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University. Contact us if you’d like to arrange a formal internship.

Are you interested in learning more about the local criminal justice system, where decisions are made, and what resources are available? Check out the pages below.

Click the image below for a detailed chart of the process defendants go through from arrest to release.