I’ve neglected the blog, back and sharing about work with victims.

Blogging in the manner I do takes strength.  I tell the truth, my truth and tie it to teaching about Restorative Justice.  Well, I make every attempt to do that.  I show my experiences and what I have learned.  I try to get an ah-ha moment in the post.  That’s not easy when I have a 500 word style to maintain.

The strength needed to consistently blog, is in the form of discipline.  I am not very disciplined.  I don’t know how I ever quit smoking.  I can’t quit doughnuts or carbs.  Beyond the discipline of taking time to write, it takes strength of vulnerability.  To put my lessons and learnings out there here means showing where I had to grow.  Growing gets us places, it really does.  It just isn’t always easy to put a name to it.

When I have gaps in blogging, it is like gaps in talking.  It means I have retreated back a little bit.  This gap was no different.  I believe that the conversation is the relationship.  Walk away from someone with the last conversation conflicted, the relationship feels conflicted.  Walk away from the last conversation connected, relationship feels connected.

I so admire my teacher friend who greets each student hello and goodbye – it shows skills in connection.  Connections and conversations are relationships and relationships are teachers.

My relationship to this blog is a teacher.  All I have to do is start to think about the blog itself.  I know the pulse, weak or strong.  It has been weak for a while.  I don’t share about it as much when I am not active on here.  I know the connection creates a connection to my work.  Connecting to our work makes it more meaningful.  The more meaningful our work, the happier our lives.  The more we find meaning, the more we feel fulfilled.  Did you know we are most unpredictable when we are unfulfilled.  Anyone who works with juveniles should work on the kids fulfilment levels.

I recently got some fulfillment, I was invited to do a community presentation around Crime Victims Rights Week. I am sharing the powerpoint here.  Reminding those that work with victims, the importance of listening.  I hope what I shared helped others, and I hope it might help you.  Cause for me, that’s why I blog, to help others.

Restorative Dialogue april 2012


Restorative Justice Circles, meeting the social brain needs, developing humanity.

For an example outside of this blog and SCVRJP, check out this presentation:  on DMC, from OJJDP, https://www.nttac.org/index.cfm?event=webinarJuvenileJustice   The slides and information on Circles start on PPT slide 44 (ppt here).

What is described in this program, is very much like the programming used at SCVRJP.  I have several blogs trying to describe it, today I want to recognized something I see as very much like the Circles I associate with being Restorative Justice Circle.  Each element contains certain responsibilities and when these responsibilities are honored and the work done, is by Circle, then great outcomes can happen.

Key Elements of a Circle

  • Circle keeper

  • Ground rules

  • Values

  • Decision by consensus

  • Talking piece

  • Centerpiece

  • Opening/closing

The Restorative Justice outcomes can happen in other styles and “expressions” of Restorative Justice.  From a simple conversation, to a formal Circle.  I really feel like SCVRJP has developed an effective, effective means for not only reaching outcomes, but touching humanity in our Circle participants that really changes for the long-term.  My area is not other types of Restorative Justice process, my area is a Restorative Justice Circle, as learned from many teachers

A power point from the National Association of Social Workers was recently forwarded to me.  A great presentation I didn’t hear directly, by Johnathan Jordan, mindfully change.  Some pieces immediately resonated and I can see how Restorative Justice Circle process promotes and leverages brain based change!

Our brains need social safety – this is established around students learning in schools and offenders making change.  So what do our social brains need most?  A SCARF, scarf stands for (From Slide 14, of the NASW power point):

Status – how we compare to others, competition, avoidance of being “wrong” or responsibility for being at fault
Certainty – clarity, opposite of confusion, risk free
Autonomy – ability to make decisions, sense of control
Relatedness – fitting in safely, belonging to a group
Fairness – how we are treated compared to others

How a Restorative Justice Circle promotes each of these:

Status – Power is equalized in Circle, the set up, the format, the allowing each person equal access to the talking piece and the manner that a true Keeper of Circle brings, promotes equal status.  The non-judgement you promote in Circle, also eliminates a fear of judgement.  I convey in Circle, each person is a student and each person is a teacher.  It feels good to be needed, and it feels validating to know your “lived experience” can be used as wisdom for others.
Certainty – Circles have a clear structure and process.  After explaining how the talking piece will work, I explain the great freedom this will allow us.  This structure and certainty of the process is reinforced when we use a consensus process at the very beginning and agree to use the values in the center, the paper plates as our guidelines.  (This practice is slightly different from the model Gwen/Alice/Kay teach).  You promote certainty by role modeling the process.  Don’t blurt, because as keeper of community rep, you just role modeled that you don’t have to follow the guidelines, and that means you have stepped out of your equality status.
Autonomy – There is complete autonomy for each and every person in Circle.  You decide how you will be in Circle, you have the option to pass.  You promote inclusion and invitation as the keeper.  This allows freedom for people.  The first few stages, where you are doing the “silly before the serious” allows people to express themselves.  They realize they are free to be themselves, and then magically they open up to a place of being someone who wants to learn and even change.
Relatedness – It is amazing and the power of Circle immediately shows us we are all connected, more alike than different.  Using the process lights up the brains and hearts of all participants.  The final stage of Circle, where you reflect on the experience ties this all together.
Fairness – Circles are so fair, because of the equality.  Circle promote the fairness because of the equal opportunity for the talking piece.  You can speak your voice and mind, and maybe you don’t feel it was “fair” that you got arrested, but once that is voiced, we can move on in Circle to the choices made, and what could be made in the future.
I really encourage you to learn Circle by being in Circle, to embrace all the key elements and to leverage your influence on humanity by providing your community with real Restorative Justice Circles.

Full pdf article on SCARF

The Neuroscience of Better Negotiations PPT from NASW (©2012 National Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved)

Local Training for new speakers – Restorative Storytelling.

storytelling seminar

Wednesday ∙ May 2th

6:00 – 7:00 pm

Restorative Justice Center

215 N 2nd Street, Suite 106

River Falls, WI  54021


Please join us for an informational session about public speaking, restoratively.  This session will include information for public speakers & new volunteers.  Kris Miner, SCVRJP Executive Director will be leading this seminar session.


To increase the impact of your presentations – use stories!


The seminar will include tips for:

  • crafting a meaningful message
  • organizing for emotional flow
  • breathing and voice techniques

Participants will also learn:

  • how the brain is impacted by story
  • why stories touch our heart
  • why stories provide healing


Please join us and share your resources and tips for public speaking and storytelling.