|Restorative Justice Coordinator
Renville County Government Services Center
105 South 5th Street, Room 119
Olivia, MN 56277
Circles will provide a strength-based process to enhance the ability of members of the community to keep individuals, children, and families unified, as well as physically and emotionally safe. Acting through the Circle, individuals, families, and community members will play an equal role in encouraging and assisting participants to identify and enhance their strengths while holding them accountable.
The Circle Process
The Circle Process is used in conjunction with, or as an alternative to the traditional system. Participants who are referred to this program meet in a Circle about twice a month. A Circle usually consists of juvenile, their parents or other support people, several community volunteers, and the restorative justice coordinator. Victims may also participate if they wish or if applicable to the particular Circle. As a group, the Circle works with the family or individual to determine what they can do to repair the harm they have caused by the offenses or circumstances that brought them to Circle. This may include community service or restitution, apology letters, or meeting face to face with the victim(s) to discuss what happened. Participants are also given goals to deal with other issues they may be struggling with, such as family interactions, school, mental health concerns, or chemical dependency.
The Circle process is based upon Native American and aboriginal traditions. People come together and meet in a literal circle where everyone is given an opportunity to share their perspectives and work together in finding solutions. A talking piece is often passed around the Circle. At these times, individuals are allowed to speak only if they are holding the talking piece or are asked a question by the person who does. This ensures that everyone can talk freely, without interruptions, and also enhances listening skills. Values of the Circle include respect, equality, compassion, honesty, and spirituality.
- Learn how their behaviors affect others and answer directly to the people they have harmed.
- Develop relationships with other adults in the community, who provide them with both support and accountability as they learn to make positive changes in their lives.
- Are able to keep a clean criminal record if they complete the program successfully.
- Are given support in dealing with the difficulties they are going through, making decisions about appropriate discipline, and improving communication.
- Can speak directly to the offender about how the crime has affected them.
- Can have a say in the offender's sentence.
- Gain support from other people in the community.
- Community members are given the opportunity to work together to mentor youth and adult participants make their communities safer and healthier.
Volunteers Are Always Needed and Training Is Free
Renville County Restorative Justice Department welcomes men and women of all ages to become volunteers. There are no special qualifications needed, except for the desire to work with youth and others in the community. We welcome those who have had personal or family experience with anger management, alcohol and/or drug recovery. Confidentiality is vital; it is an important requirement of volunteers. Training is provided at no cost to volunteers.
Volunteers for Renville County’s Community Circles must be available to meet approximately twice a month. Most groups gather together for a casual meal first, prior to sitting in Circle. Evening meetings usually last about two hours. Volunteers may also do some mentoring with youth outside of Circle, but this is not required, and must be agreed upon by the Circle beforehand.
If you are interested in helping our participants move beyond their circumstances and seek to develop strong community connections by working together to repair harm and promote a community of caring, please contact Andrew Peltz the Renville County Restorative Justice Coordinator, at 320-522-1573 or email firstname.lastname@example.org