Kris Miner Schweigert, is the founder and director of Circle Space Services. Kris was initially trained in Restorative Justice in 1998. She received training from Kay Pranis, Oscar Reed & Jamie Williams, Nancy Riestenberg, Linda Wolfe, Mark Umbriet, Kay Longtin, Mark LaPointe and IIRP.
Kris began working with River Falls High School, in 2005. She took referrals for Restorative Justice and assisted staff in learning and implementing Restorative Practices. Kris began to offer Circle Trainings in 2006. She has trained 100’s of people that attended trainings and as an on-site consultant. She has worked with alternative schools, charter schools, public and private school settings. Kris has an expertise in Classroom Circles and Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circles. She can train on the whole-school Restorative Practices, and on Circle facilitation. Offering schools training, consultation and workshops is a specific mission of Circle Space Services.
Kris was trained as a Severe Crime and Violence Victim-Offender Dialogue Facilitator, by Mark Umbriet from the University of MN, Center for Restorative Justice and Peacebuilding. She began to work with traffic fatality survivors and offenders related to impaired and/or intoxicated driving. She helped numerous speakers prepare for telling their stories publicly with as most healing and impact as possible.
In 2010 Kris designed and implemented Restorative Response programming for survivors of suicide, homicide and traffic fatalies. This included Circle sessions responding to complex grief and trauma. Training sessions for survivors, advocates and staff were offered. Circle sessions were also available to groups, families and individuals impacted by suicide, homicide, traffic fatality and drug overdose.
As a volunteer for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, she assisted and facilitated Victim Offender Dialogue cases and VOCARE (Victim Offender Community Restorative Experience) Circle sessions. In August of 2015 Kris became the VOD/VOCARE Coordinator for the MN DOC.
Some of the Severe Crime Incidents she has facilitated include:
- Offender and family member in an auto crash ending 3 lives (two children). Charges came 2 years after the incident. After months of individual preparation meetings the two close in age, met twice. A tearful and extended embrace at the end of the first meeting. At the second meeting the family member gifted the offender a scrapbook of the deceased family members and quotes on forgiveness interspersed on the pages.
- Large amounts of alcohol were involved in a college incident, where a young man died. Following a long trial and determination of not-guilty the second man involved, pled guilty to disorderly conduct. A dialogue with the parents, and brother of the deceased was held with minimal preparation due to geography.
- After decades a woman met with the man involved in the murder of her sibiling. She needed to ask him what her relative did that led to murder. She remembered things from the trial nearly 30 years past. She wanted questions answered. She also wanted to shake his hand, as he was the last person to touch her sibling alive.
- Traffic fatality involving a teen driver and couple on a motorcycle. The teen went left on a green light. The husband died shortly after arriving at the hospital, the wife saw the teens reaction at the crash and had a compassion for the accident that occurred. The children of the deceased struggled. A dialogue that involved the children at the table to exchange stories, with mothers in the room for support, and then the mothers exchanging stories was helpful for everyone involved.
- Circle with a volunteer fire department following two incidents of fatalities.
- Homicide of three children by their father. Provided Circle of support for the faith community children, 4 days after the crime. Provided Circle for school staff, 2 months after the crime. Provided support to survivors of similar parent/step-parent child homicides.
- Driver of vehicle met with 3 daughters and the grand-daughter of the woman who died in a traffic crash. Daughters disclosed stories they had not anticipated, the oldest hugged and wept with the driver. Conditions for court order were developed as an outcome of the meeting.
- Provided support to inmate 16 years after double homicide, and exposure to Restorative Justice. A few years late survivor requested VOD. Provided survivor, preparation and support before and after VOD. Did not prep offender or attend actual VOD session. Facilitated speaking engagements and opportunities for survivor to share her experience and the healing potential of Restorative Justice.
Kris also provides support and coaching on cases of severe crime. She provides education and training sessions to facilitators for the MN Department of Corrections. Services for training and facilitation can be arranged. There is no charge to survivors. Court-ordered restitution can be used to cover the cost of Circle Space Services case facilitation.