A sentencing Circle is a community-based diversion program providing a more effective, and less expensive, means of serving justice for misdemeanor offenders. It is founded on the restorative justice principle of accountability to the offender by bringing together the offender, his/her parents, the victim (s) (when applicable), trained peer(s), and members of community affected by the offense. The circle works together to determine how the youth should take responsibility for his or her actions, and constructs a Plan of Action.
The population this program intends to serve are mostly at-risk first-time misdemeanor offenders who accept responsibility for their actions. They can be 11-18 years old but must be enrolled in school full time. They also may have some, but minimal, criminal history. We aim in particular to serve students from under-served environments. Referrers may be court counselors, school officials, law enforcement and SRO’s.
The program will support youth in learning about, and learning the value of, restorative justice, both as defendants and as volunteers, and to nurture a respect for legal processes and to benefit from positive adult role models and pro-social peers.
Sentencing Circles Forms: