1. Stay grounded in the parameters of the process.  I decided that the Circle would flow better if we had the offender going last.  That’s not what Restorative Justice guides us to do.  You let the victim decide, and you give the victim that option....
  2. Convey the intentions and limitations of Restorative Justice.... Is restorative justice going to get to the outcomes that a victim really wants?  As practitioners we owe it to everyone involved to fully share what the intentions of restorative justice are.  I say the “conversation creates the outcome”, that we don’t go in with a detailed agenda for others.  But what if the victim wants and needs to see remorse in the offender?  Share and disclose the limitations of the process, use stories and examples of other victims....
  3. Remind victims about core RJ values.  I try to make a point of mentioning that “listening for understanding” does not mean “accepting the behavior”.  I try to discuss with each side before a meeting, things like body language and eye contact.  Victims can feel disrespected for not getting eye contact, yet an offender is feeling shame and is embarrassed to make the eye contact.  Its important to meet people where they are at....
  4. Negotiate the “owning of the offense”, carefully.... Some offenders still fear getting in trouble, and will “self-preserve” over telling the truth.  They acknowledge they caused the harm, but full disclosure of the story, the details, the telling of the incident from start to finish, doesn’t happen.  Sometimes the anxiety of the meeting causes people to not remember or become frightened to speak much.  As practitioners, tread lightly, prepare victims for how this portion will go, and how they will respond to it going not at well as expected....
  5. Accept you can’t meet everyone's needs.... So when Restorative Justice is victim-centered, guess what, we don’t even really know what that means, because we don’t know what the victims' wants and needs are.  We don’t really know what they are going to want or need as the preparation process evolves.  Victims are humans first, and as human beings sometimes we identify our wants and needs and they aren’t exactly reasonable....

Do the best you can upholding the principles of restorative justice, consult with others, co-facilitate and communicate directly.

Read the whole entry, which includes some interesting stories.