Source: (1999) San Francisco: San Francisco Chronicle.

In this living room and in other sanctuaries throughout the state, volunteer judges are devoting hours, and potentially months, to an intense process of penalty and rehabilitation, meting out punishments tailor-made to satisfy victims and perpetrators alike. The concept is called "circle sentencing," and it is off to a promising start in Minnesota, the first U.S. state to try it, with support from local prosecutors, judges, offenders and public defenders. Fashioned after the practices of First Nation Indians in remote Yukon Territory, the circles - at this point reserved for juveniles and adults convicted of nonviolent misdemeanors - first appeared in Minnesota two years ago on the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation northwest of Minneapolis. Several small towns began using them last year; Minneapolis now holds about two circles a week. (excerpt)


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