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Who we are

The Valley Justice Coalition is an active organization. Over the last four years, we have successfully advocated for policy changes and campaigned for the creation of new programs.

Women Holding Hands


Animate the Harrisonburg/Rockingham community to engage in reducing incarceration and recidivism through public education, policy advocacy, coalition building, and grass roots organizing.


A united and educated community engaged in reducing incarceration and recidivism throughout the Shenandoah Valley.


Our key members

Harvey Yoder


Harvey Yoder is co-chair of the Valley Justice Coalition and has been a part of VJC from its beginning. He is a licensed counselor and a pastor of a house church congregation who advocates for criminal justice and prison reform on his Harvspot blog and through other media.

Reta Finger

Reta Finger is a retired college professor with writing and editing experience. Though not an expert on criminal justice, she cares about many justice issues and is willing to help with editing needs related to VJC.

Mike Ramer

Mike Ramer works in residence life at EMU. He is passionate about supporting young people as they discern the particular ways that they are called to participate in justice movements. 

Debra Turner

Debra Turner is a semi-retired ESL/CNA Instructor at MTC. Virginia Criminal Justice Reform Legislation has been a passion for the last 4 years.


LaDawn Knicely


A Rockingham County native, ordained as a pastor in the Church of the Brethren, and a private pastoral counseling practice, LaDawn takes seriously her calling to use her spiritual gifts and peacebuilding skills to promote transformation, healing and love for individuals, as well as for the community as a whole. She founded Hometown Rescue Mission & Ministry where she teaches & pastors.  She is passionate about educating others about mental health illness.  Her counseling clientele demographic is all age groups from children, young adolescents to adults.    The scope of her work is anxiety, depression, addictions, family systems, marital, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated felons.  She offers her services on a sliding fee scale so all socioeconomic backgrounds have access to faith-based counseling.  She has over 26 years of experience as a REALTOR and is Broker/Owner of Hometown Realty Group.

Kevin Drexel

Kevin Drexel is an experienced affordable housing developer and advocate. He is Founder of, a ministry that supports the incarcerated inside of jails and prisons and upon reentry.

Kathleen Temple

Kathleen Temple is a local peace and justice advocate with a special interest in criminal justice reform.

Community Impact

Political Activism

VJC members have served on the Community Criminal Justice Board's alternates committee chaired by Judge John Paul. As a part of that committee, reform proposals have been submitted.

Improved Mental Health in Jails

VJC initiated conversations that lead to the Community Services Board hiring a full time counselor for the jail.

More Public Input Into Jail Policies

VJC helped reactivate the Community Criminal Justice Board to meet quarterly and accept input from the public.

Community Engagement

VJC is active authoring op-ed pieces in local papers.

Incarceration Alternatives

VJC was a part of a community of voices that raised concerns about over-crowding in jails. As a result, the Drug Court Program was started and gives substance abuse support as an alternative to jail time.

Amplifying Inmate Family Concerns

VJC conducted and published a survey of 80 inmate family members to amplify concerns over jail policies.

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