How to use Peacemaking Circle assumptions for Restorative Justice facilitation.

The Peacemaking Circle assumptions, published in Circle Forward and Heart of Hope:

  1. The True Self in Everyone Is Good, Wise, and Powerful
  2. The World is profoundly Interconnected
  3. All Human Beings have a Deep Desire to be in a Good Relationship
  4. All Humans Have Gifts & Everyone Is Needed for What They Bring
  5. Everything We Need to Make Positive Change Is Already Here
  6. Human Beings are Holistic
  7. We Need Practices to Build Habits of Living from the Core Self

Podcast on school-based Restorative Justice, authors of Circle Forward, from Restorative Justice on the Rise: CLICK HERE.

These assumptions are “ideas” and we can connect to these by how we feel about them.  Once these concepts are learned, we can move them into concrete practice.  One of the concrete practices I’ve developed is to validate the experience of those that have been harmed and those that have caused harm.  A concrete practice is how you talk with others the language you use.

Restorative Justice practitioners are called to advocate for repairing the harm.  Around that harm is the victim, offender and community.  Engaging those 3 parties fully, means honoring their wisdom about the harm.

The relationship between the restorative justice coordinator and these beliefs is important.  I talk about “wisdom of the lived experience” when I first meet people.  I validate the growth mindset, and work from a framework of post-traumatic growth instead of PTSD.

One of the first things you ever told me back in 2012 was that I survived much, and survival created wisdom. Thanks so much for lifting me up in that way, It meant the world and still does.  It took courage beyond imagination to contact you, no regrets. Never in a million years could I have ever imagined we’d be going on prison visits over the years to come.

Restorative Justice professionals are no different than any other, we get caught up in our knowledge and expertise.  It takes skill and practice to have the humility to honor others wisdom.  The quote above is from an email I recently received, it is a reminder that when starting a relationship (especially one that is for severe crime), what you say has lasting impact.