Since my January 4th blog “Surmounting Tough Conversations After Incarceration,” I took a 30-hour training in Reintegration Support Circles. Support Circles are a means to resolve issues without shame or blame or winners or losers. Reintegration Support Circles seek, among other things, to re-unite Returning Citizens (RCs)* with family members, friends, clergy, social workers, and maybe other supportive members of the RC’s community (usually 6 or 7 persons) in a structured and circular setting. The aim is to generate a shared, positive vision for a Returning Citizen.
Circles are one of many processes associated with Restorative Justice, a conflict resolution process, philosophy, and set of practices, that is fast finding its way into schools, juvenile justice systems, and even adult criminal proceedings. Circles have their source among the ways of Indigenous peoples in North America, New Zealand, South Pacific, Africa, Alaska, and elsewhere.