This restorative circle is used when an offender is about to re-enter a community after being absent for a time (e.g. being in prison, on suspension from school, or after a hearing).
A Re-Entry Circle begins with a pre-conference with all persons who will be attending, including caseworkers, probation or parole officers, and other parties as needed. We determine what parties will attend by talking to the victim and the offender separately, and asking each who they feel needs to be in attendance. We then hold additional interviews with each proposed participant, and ask them who else they feel should attend, until we establish the circle.
The goal of the circle is to re-explore the event in a manner where all voices are heard, and the victim, offender, and community can all express their needs and get their questions answered. This process facilitates a harmonious return in which the offender can be re-accepted as a member of the community, rather than a return awash in disconnection and hostility.
The support an acceptance afforded by this Re-Entry Circle process aids offender’s successful re-integration into the community and makes them less likely to return to their old, harmful habits.
If would be interested in a Re-Entry Circle, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.