If you or your organization is interested in bringing an Amicus training on Circles and Circle keeping to your organization or area, contact Kathleen DuChene or 612-348-8570. The following are just samples of what trainings on this topic might look like- trainings are created and adapted to match the needs of participants and program.
Training: Circle and Circle Keeping at MCF-Thistledew
In September and November of 2009, Amicus trainers Katya and Mark Gordon and MCF-Thistledew staff spent two days in circle exploring basic concepts about restorative approaches: victim accountability, offender competency, and community safety. A second phase of the training was conducted in November.
In large and small circles, staff explored:
- Circle as a tool for taking responsibility, making amends, personal growth, and healing.
- The process of determining readiness for circle in different situations, preparing participants for circle, and following through.
- The daily “check-ins” at Thistledew and how they provide a foundation for more difficult circles.
- The importance of the values in circle, tips for keeping the circle, when agreements are appropriate, and how to ensure their validity and meaning.
- The concept of apology letters.
- Storytelling as a means of connecting with other staff.
- Questions such as, “How can Thistledew be safe and secure without barbed wire or armed guards?”
Thistledew is a living example of how integrating the circle process into a facility can enhance safety, save money, hold one another accountable, and bring relevance to the clients’ lives.