Restorative Circles and restorative systems
In Brazil the juvenile justice system, neighbourhoods and schools have begun to use Restorative Circles  developed by Dominic Barter inspired by Nonviolent Communication. The approach involves a much wider circle of participants than conventional victim/offender conferencing, and begins with establishing a restorative system in the neighbourhood or school where circles will be held. As such, Barter’s approach offers scope for radical social transformation. This process is being adopted in Germany, the USA, the UK, Canada and Uganda, and outside of the justice and education systems.
In Hawaii, Huikahi Restorative Circles allow prisoners to meet with their families and friends in a group process to support their transition back into the community. Meetings specifically address the need for reconciliation with victims of their crime(s). A Modified Restorative Circle was developed and used in Hawaii for offenders whose loved ones are unable or unwilling to participate. Other prisoners sit in the Circle and help develop the transition plan.
See also: Restorative Circles | Facebook
I’ve been exploring the question of, How can we build a culture of empathy? A while back, I interviewed Dominic Barter, who facilitates restorative circles in some of the toughest drug and gang ridden favelas (shantytowns) in Brazil. He has created a process based on Nonviolent Communication and Restorative Justice that brings conflicted parties together to individually reconnect internally, reconnect with others and reconnect with the community at large. Dominic told me restorative circles are like a series of empathy hot tubs. This is the first part of my interview with him where I asked him about the nature of empathy… (continues)