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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

To develop the capacity to fully address interpersonal conflicts and harm, communities often need to shift the culture that reproduce harm and work to dismantle the root cause such as racism and other systemic oppression. Restorative Justice is an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, transformative process that foster a different way of being in relationship to one another in order to change the culture.

An invitation to listen

Restorative Justice process is led by a Circle facilitator 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, deeper listening, and works against the voicelessness experienced by BIPOC and other oppressed groups.

Work and build together

Circle participants are invited to explore the issue at hand through relevant questions posed by the facilitator. When harm occurs, needs arise and from those needs we begin to identify obligations. Needs of the harmed are often neglected and must be heard and tended to. The harmer stays in relationship with the harmed rather than be “pushed out.” The community think together, identify ways to support, and (re)build trust. Circle is not a debate or a process to render judgment, but it is a place to dialogue. Accountability is created by the community and the harmer is held accountable with support and encouragement rather than isolation and traditional ways of punishment.

Healing is Justice

By exploring—in a compassionate space—what happened, the impact of the harm, and needs and obligations, the process allows to surface the steps needed to make the situation as right as possible. Departing from a “rights-based,” or legal ways to address harm, Restorative Justice is an “interest or needs-based” process driven by the community whose knowledge and care have the power not only to address harm, but find pathways to healing, which is justice.

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