July 28, 2016
The Circle is the tool that unites
– Magistrate McLain, Galena
“Restorative justice…repairs the harm caused by crime. When victims, offenders and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results can be transformational.”
– Centre for Justice & Reconciliation
Many of Alaska’s tribal villages have practiced forms of restorative justice long before the term became popular. Today, youth
advocates, local judges and Native villages are working together to divert or keep young people away from the juvenile justice system, and involve them with local programs that keep them at home and supported.
The Resource Basket is forming a network to strengthen and support intervention and diversions options for youth called “Circles.” Talking Circles, Peacemaking Circles, Community Conferences and Circle Sentencing are terms describing a process where:
– those harmed by a crime or harmful behavior;
– those who commit such actions; and
– extended family members, tribal members, and others in the community
gather to respond to a crime or social problem in a way that promotes healing and resolution.
Participants of this emerging “Circle Network” have expertise, knowledge, influence and passion to grow these efforts throughout Alaska. They are committed to working with rural communities to foster and support quality juvenile diversion programs. An initial gathering took place in late April and a summary from that meeting is available if interested. Contact The Resource Basket if you share this vision, are practicing restorative justice for youth, or are interested in using Circles within your community.
To learn more about “Circles,” go to the Early Intervention and Diversion section on our Tools webpage.