Testimonials

People who have taken part in restorative justice processes facilitated by Open Circle staff have said:

“This is probably the most positive thing that we’ve ever had in some ways with regards to being heard.”

“I think it’s quite healing to hear another person’s story… to listen to another person’s story but also to tell your own story. And that’s in essence what happened. I feel as though I really had an opportunity to tell the story. But also I also got the opportunity to hear someone else’s story that I wouldn’t have heard.”

“Something has been faced up to, dealt with. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and confront things that hurt. I now know something about a person who was previously just a faceless defendant deserving of punishment. Knowing what he looks like, how he talks and how he feels helps me.”

“I think it was a very tough day. But I certainly do not regret doing it at all. I see it as something positive. Certainly, I feel it’s been positive for us.”

“Saying sorry will never bring [the deceased person] back, but [restorative justice] gave me an opportunity to speak and not make it out that I’m a cold-hearted person and I didn’t care, when I do care and I really appreciate having this opportunity.”

“We got different answers. We found out the background of the other person and the events that led up to the day, and that put some of our mind at rest and answered some questions.”

“[The other participants are now] real people to me and I feel as though we do have a bond with them…I think it’s feeling sort of a greater sense of peace maybe having met them and feeling that they don’t blame us as a family or just feeling that there is openness between the two families. Or there’s a connection and that it’s not sort of acrimonious.”

* These quotes are from people who participated in the CIJ’s Restorative Justice Conferencing Pilot Program, which was a precursor to Open Circle. You can read more about the participants’ experiences and about the pilot in the report ‘It’s healing to hear another person’s story and also to tell your own story’: Report on the CIJ’s Restorative Justice Conferencing Pilot Program via the link in the ‘Related Content’ section below.