Restorative Justice promotes healthy relationships, one Circle at a time.

I am working on a letter to a prison inmate.  I am trying to describe and explain what I have been meaning, when I say that SCVRJP provides “support”.  SCVRJP offers our volunteers and clients (victims, offenders & community members) a place to practice positive healthy relationships.

The value of a healthy relationship is invaluable.  Recovery doesn’t happen in isolation.  Change doesn’t happen without connections.  Community doesn’t happen without others.  The experience of knowing you have been generous, kind, supportive, helpful, honest can only happen, in the experience.

We can talk about healthy relationships one-to-one with our therapist, probation officer, physician, spiritual advisor, best friend.  Being new and being better in relationships requires that we have healthy relationships.

Read a book about swimming and you get some tips.  Get in the water and learn to swim.

A Restorative Justice Circle starts with clarifying relationship values.  The getting acquainted stage starts with explaining the process, reading an opening and then having all involved contribute a value.  Speaking about the values and making a committment to them is the easy part.  That’s the part like reading the book on swimming.

When you get to the parts of the Circle that involve building relationships and addressing issues you are having a healthy relationship.  Time and time again people step up and operate from a deep place of respect and understanding.

I have witnessed victims express themselves, offenders take ownership for harm caused.  It is healthy in the depth of a Circle.  It is healthy when young people share of themselves.  It is healthy when we take time to listen to each other.  It is healthy when we come away with a changed attitude because we gave a received our thoughts and experiences.

People leave Circle different from when they arrive. 

There is power that transforms people when you create a community of listeners, taking turns.

Get yourself into a real, Restorative Justice Circle, the values, a talking piece, a open and close are parts of a real Circle.