Why restorative justice helps us with "belonging"
Dec 28, 2009
from Kris Miner's blog entry:
We started a new Circle program called CSI-Circles. Controlled Substance Intervention – responding to those who have gotten citations/tickets for marijuana possession or parapernalia charges. We use Restorative Justice Circle process with booklets from the Change Company. Our community members in the Circle include people in recovery, with significant life experiences impacted by addiction and previous drug use. We focus on restorative values and the talking circle is the vehicle for impacting people.
The response by participants has really touched me. One young person shared a traumatic story about an incident of threats and abuse by a parent. We all silently absorbed that story, because it was Circle. Later the “taking action” stage, was full of comments about what people would be taking from the Circle. Hope, understanding, awareness, faith – things you would want young people who got caught with a pipe or pot to feel. At least what I think is good to take away, I have thought long about what they were getting from courts before SCVRJP offered this session.
The final question round, is usually a reflection on the Circle itself, and I used that at the CSI. That was really great feedback. The attendees were really suprised by what they thought it was going to be and what it was. Several comments on how effective it was, and how much more it should be applied.
I think all the positive-ness came from distributing the sense of belonging. We gave it to each other, we reintegrated everyone back in the community. The Circle safety created a candid space for everyone to talk about their crime, their lives and their future. It was a real gift to have our CSI program be so well received.