Restorative Circles

A restorative circle is a community process for supporting those in conflict. Developed in the mid 1990s in the favelas of Brazil where it became known as Círculos Restaurativos, restorative circles are now in use worldwide. The circles bring together three parties to a conflict – those who have acted, those directly impacted and the wider community – within a chosen systemic context, to dialogue as equals. Participants invite each other and attend voluntarily. The dialogue process used is shared openly with all participants. The process ends when actions have been found that bring mutual benefit that nurtures the inherent integrity of all those involved in the conflict. Restorative circles are facilitated in 3 stages that arise in an approximate sequence and identity the key factors in the conflict, reach agreements on next steps, and evaluate the results. As a circle form, they invite shared power, mutual understanding and self-responsibility within community. Restorative circles are facilitated by community members who identify themselves as impacted by the conflict at hand. They commit to serving the emergent wisdom of the participants through their willingness to offer questions sourced from an agreed upon basis and to track the co-creation of meaning and intra-personal, inter-personal and social action by those present.

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  • General Info
  • Strategies & Practices
  • Tools
  • On The Ground
  • Other
General Info: 

(2013) Restorative Justice Online
This webpage discusses the origins, elements, implementation, and evaluation of restorative circles.

THE CIRCLE PROCESS: A Path for Restorative Dialogue
(2005) Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking
This document provides an overview of the restorative circle process outlining four phases of activity and discusses alternative designs for the circle gathering.

Strategies & Practices: 

Restorative Classroom Practices
A community of teachers using Restorative Practices in their classrooms, this website features a number of resources such as a slideshow on how to start a restorative circle and a list of restorative questions.


Teaching Restorative Practices with Classroom Circles
(2013) Center for Restorative Process
This manual supports the teaching of restorative practices and skills in your classroom. Restorative Practices are a framework for building community and for responding to challenging behavior through authentic dialogue, coming to understanding, and making things right. This manual describes how to hold restorative circles in classrooms. It contains step-by-step instructions for circles that build community, teach restorative concepts and skills, and harness the power of restorative circles to set things right when there is conflict.

On the Ground: 

Green HS Students discuss the Impact of Restorative Circles
Morningside Center
In this video, students from Green High School in Brooklyn, NY discuss the impact of restorative circles on their school climate.

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