Source: (2008) Dispute Resolution Magazine. Fall 2008:16-18.

They gathered on the north side of the city, where most of Milwaukee's violent crimes occur. There were two dozen members of the community and eight special guests, offenders who had committed severely violent crimes, returning from prison. They sat in a traditional Native American talking circle on the second floor of what used to be a bank. It is now a community center for this poor, African American neighborhood. With a lit candle in the center, the facilitator explained the purpose of the gathering and of the restorative practices of meeting in a circle. Those gathered included victims, neighborhood residents, the community prosecutor, faith leaders, business owners, police officers, parents of local school children, and the federal prosecutor who leads the Safe Streets Initiative. For the next two hours participants reflected on how violence affected their lives. For some, it brought tears. For others, it brought a chance to tell their story. But for all it was a transforming experience. (excerpt)


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