Source: (2001) In Restorative community justice: Repairing harm and transforming communities, ed. Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff, 219-241. With an introduction by Gordon Bazemore and Mara Schiff. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing Co.

In this essay, Stuart proposes guiding principles for designing and implementing peacemaking circles. Stuart begins with an overview of peacemaking circles. Such circles, which can be used in response to crime and to other conflicts, consist of processes and structures to resolve differences, prevent conflict, or build better relationships. They include four stages: (1) deciding to use the circle; (2) preparing for it; (3) conducting the circle; and (4) following up after the circle. Stuart presents an actual example of a sentencing peacemaking circle to illustrate circle processes and guiding principles. These principles include identification and clarification of personal and shared values, respect for participants, inclusion of all affected parties, commitment to the voluntary nature of participation, shared vision, local design, flexibility, accessibility, holism, spirituality, consensus, and accountability. The author then addresses some of the challenges in designing and implementing peacemaking circles: changing people’s beliefs and perspectives; the time-consuming nature of the entire circle process; and involvement of both volunteers and criminal justice professionals.