Source: (2002) Paper presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, August 8-10, 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As Heino Lilles observes at the beginning of this paper, restorative justice is a broad term encompassing a variety of activities that can occur before, during, or after a criminal prosecution. Circle sentencing is one type of restorative justice practice; it is part of and may even replace sentencing in the formal justice system. Circle sentencing aims to recognize the needs of victims, secure the participation of the community, and identify the rehabilitative needs of the offender. Lilles sketches the criminal justice context in Canada, the circle sentencing process, the impact of the circle, critical challenges to circle sentencing, and the question of the relevance of circle sentencing in various cultural settings.

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