Essay on Circle Sentencing as Alternative Dispute Resolutions

1235 Words5 Pages
Circle Sentencing as Alternative Dispute Resolutions

While the restorative justice movement has risen in recent years, the idea of circle sentencing, or peacemaking circles has been practiced in indigenous cultures for quite some time. As we look at implementing traditional indigenous culture practices as alternative dispute resolutions, we need to realize the effectiveness and also whether we are ready to use them. The Yukon and other communities reintroduced circles in 1991 as a practice of the restorative justice movement (Bazemore, 1997, p.27). Around that same time, Minnesota made the breakthrough in borrowing the practices with each band of Native Americans having their own political communications. Because Minnesota has seven
…show more content…
33). In the process of circles the setting is very relaxed, it taking place wherever the group wants. They do have the members of most courtrooms with a judge, probation officer, court recorder, and community members along with the victim and their family. Since the processes are so community orientated, the actual process of the circle will vary (Roberts, 1996, p.70.) During traditional settings, prayer at the beginning of the sentence will occur, along with some sort of sacred object, which is usually a feather that members pass to one another as a talking stick. This gives the person holding the feather the power to say what they feel, and give the process a sense of organization, and most importantly, it prevents one-on-one confrontations (Ulrich, 1999, p.425).

What problems occur with the implementation of aboriginal circles?
When looking at the current criminal justice system in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, it is clear that it has failed in the treatment of aboriginal people. This problem has strengthened the idea of restorative justice as a replacement of the traditional system. When looking at implementing circles into that realm of restorative justice, there needs to be an agreement that their practices are diverse, and therefore not to force the issue. Many traditional practices are very spiritually based, and it needs to be evident that

More about Essay on Circle Sentencing as Alternative Dispute Resolutions

Get Access