OAR NOVA is a local non-profit restorative justice organization providing human services since 1971. Our history has its roots in the highest principles of human rights, and the most practical applications of a community’s enlightened self-interest and citizen action. Its origins can be traced to a 1968 prison strike at the State Penitentiary in Richmond, Virginia. In response, several local churches convened a conference on Churches and the Correctional System. Following that effort, Jay Worrall, Jr. founded the OAR movement, which at the time stood for Offender Aid and Restoration. It was his vision of citizen visitors helping jail inmates that formed the original premise for the creation of OAR organizations around the country.
In September 1970, Offender Aid and Restoration of Virginia received its articles of incorporation. In 1971, the Fairfax OAR was established, and in 1973, Worrall opened the national office. At the height of the movement there were 22 local agencies in 10 states. Today there remain eight local OAR affiliates, four of which are in Virginia, who have emerged as viable non-profit organizations with expanded missions and service delivery areas. In 1998, OAR NOVA voted to change its name from Offender Aid and Restoration to do business as “Opportunities, Alternatives & Resources” in order to better reflect the organization’s mission and goals.