Never have I been able to share my story and thoughts in such a safe and caring space. To be able to sit with others and share my experiences was just incredible. The support allowed me to move forward in my healing process.

What is a Healing Justice retreat?

Our retreats invite people directly harmed in these cases (crime victims and survivors, exonerated individuals, and both sets of families), as well as others directly affected, to come together in a safe, nurturing, and confidential space and speak openly about their trauma and loss, provide peer support to one another, identify ways their needs can be met, and begin the road to healing and recovery.

We offer different types of retreats. Some involve the same population, during which people who have similar experiences can understand and support one another and engage in individual healing. Other retreats involve diverse populations, during which people who were differently harmed can learn from one another and engage in collective healing.

The retreats are led by Healing Justice’s Founder and Executive Director and co-facilitated by past retreat participants. Our social work staff is present throughout the retreat to provide additional support to retreat participants as needed.

What activities take place at the retreat?

Our retreats typically begin on Thursday evening and run through Sunday morning. The main activity at the retreat is a continuous restorative justice circle. During circle time, the group sits together and passes a “talking piece” so that everyone has an opportunity to share and be heard. We also include other group activities during the retreat when we relax and have fun, such as shared meals, art projects, and games. All participants are expected to be present for all activities. Free time is built into the schedule to provide breaks from circle time and other group activities.   

Where are the retreats located?

Our retreats are held at the beautiful Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond, Virginia ( Roslyn is devoted to personal restoration and renewal. As such, all individual rooms are quiet, with private bathrooms and views of the countryside. High-speed wireless is also available in each room and group buildings. In order to promote reflection and rest, individual rooms do not have televisions. For health and safety purposes, pets (except for service dogs) and smoking are not allowed inside individual rooms or group buildings.

Is transportation provided?

For people traveling long distances (typically more than 300 miles), Healing Justice will purchase a round-trip plane or train ticket up to $600. We will also assign a local driver to provide car transportation to and from the retreat center and the airport or train station. For those who live within 300 miles, we will reimburse you for gas and mileage at a rate of .55 cents per mile.

What should I bring to wear at the retreat?

Most of our group activities take place indoors, and comfortable, informal clothes are best. Please also bring outerwear for walking outdoors and enjoying the retreat center grounds. There is a small workout facility on the campus, so you may wish to bring exercise clothes. However, there are no swimming pools or hot-tubs at the center, so there is no need for bathing suits. For more specific information, check the weekend forecast before leaving for the retreat and pack accordingly. As for toiletries, the rooms come with soap and shampoo.

What else should I bring?

Every participant should bring a small object that has some special significance to you. Our special objects will be shared with the group during circle time. (Examples: photograph of family, special toy from childhood, special gift from the past, etc.) Please also bring your Healing Justice t-shirt if you already have one. We will provide you with a t-shirt if this is your first retreat.

May I bring anyone with me to a retreat?

Depending on available space, you may request to bring an immediate family member who was also directly harmed at the time of the wrongful conviction or exoneration. Please note that pets and minor children (18 and under) may not attend the retreat, so please make arrangements as needed.