OAR, a community-based restorative justice organization, blends compassion and accountability to assist offenders in leading productive and responsible lives, to the benefit of all.
The Offender Aid and Restoration movement began in 1968 when a group of concerned community members led by Jay Worrall, Jr. responded to a prison riot in Charlottesville, Virginia. These citizens envisioned an improved criminal justice system in which restorative justice was the driving force. They believed that incarcerated individuals could be assisted by trained volunteers from the community, and through ongoing contact with community volunteers it was hoped that they would be empowered with information and encouraged to transform their experiences toward responsible and productive lives.
The movement offered incarcerated individuals alternatives to sanctioned incarceration, such as community service, as well as instructional programs inside of the correctional centers. The ultimate goal was to break the costly cycle of recidivism and create a more just system. OAR’s model was incorporated as OAR/USA in 1973. Today, there are six OARs providing services through independent offices in Virginia, New Jersey, and Indiana.
Offender Aid and Restoration of Arlington County, Inc. (OAR) was established in 1974 by a local group of individuals affiliated with faith communities from Arlington, Virginia, who volunteered in the jails and saw a need for ongoing support of incarcerated individuals and recently released individuals who remained largely ignored and forgotten by society.