Source: (2000) Paper presented at The Second International Conference on Conferencing and Circles: Restorative Practice in Action. Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 10-12 August 2000.

Pranis asserts that relationships are the threads of community. The interweaving of relationships is the fabric of community. Mutual responsibility is the loom on which the fabric of community is woven. Crime represents a failure of responsibility—often on many levels, individual, family and community. Our response to crime must strengthen or build relationships and emphasize and reestablish mutual responsibility on all levels—that is, spin new threads, add strands to old threads and weave them together based on a pattern of answering to and for one another. Setting limits in a loving way, articulating norms of behavior, and reinforcing mutual responsibility are critical functions of healthy communities. Conferencing can contribute to the care and maintenance of those functions in community.

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