“Circles bring us together to share who we are beyond our appearances. They’re places of listening – of hearing what it’s like to be someone else. They’re also places for being heard – for expressing what’s on our minds and hearts and having others receive it deeply. Telling our stories in the safe space of Circles opens windows on each other’s lives, giving us moments when we can witness the path another has walked as well as feel that others appreciate their own path.” Peacemaking Circle: From Crime to Community, Kay Pranis, et al.
The purpose of peacemaking circles is to create a safe, nonjudgmental place to engage in a sharing of authentic personal reactions and feelings that are owned by each individual and acknowledged by others, related to a conflict, crisis, crime, or issue.
The circle process establishes a safe non-hierarchical place in which all present have the opportunity to speak without interruptions. Participants are encouraged to share a sense of mutual responsibility for the well-being of the community and the individuals within it, and an understanding that what happens to one person affects all.