Restorative Justice Circle
Community Building • Addressing Harm • Essential Dialogues • Healing from Conflict
Minimum 1.5 hours
Participant number: up to 20
More than a methodology, Restorative Justice is a way of being. Restorative Justice Circles invite participants to listen and think together to transform conflicts.
The process of Restorative Justice
Restorative Justice (RJ) is a conflict transformation and healing process. Originating in indigenous cultures, the Native Americans use Restorative Justice or Peacemaking Circles to maintain sovereignty. We have borrowed this process to address harm in the criminal justice system as well as disrupt the racial disproportionality of suspensions at schools. It is also used in communities and organizations to strengthen relationships and resolve disputes.
An invitation to listen
Restorative Justice process is led by a Circle keeper in a circle formation. Participants are invited to speak using a Talking Piece. Talking piece is an object that is passed from one person to the next to indicate who is speaking to ensure each person has a chance to speak and be heard. The talking piece brings equity of voice and deeper listening to the space.
Work and build together
Circle process relies on the values and wisdom of those present. Participants are asked to explore the issue at hand, think together, and identify ways to support, (re)build trust, and move forward. The Circle keeper guides the dialog, but is not a decision-maker. For Circles about conflicts and harm, rather than to assign blame, we ask "What happened?" "Who was affected?" "What can we do to make it as right as possible?"
Restorative Justice process holds harmers accountable through the power of human relationships and connection rather than the traditional punitive legal system. It is a radical departure from how we manage harm. Rather than to "negate" the person who harmed, the harmer is held accountable by the community in a process that upholds the dignity of both the harmed and the harmer. Restorative Justice calls for full accountability with support as a guiding principle.