RJ Community Circles Program
Community Solutions to Community Problems
The transition from institution (detention) to the responsibilities of citizenship is full of challenges. Offenders struggle with putting their lives back together while they battle negative influences, overcome deficits in life and social skills, and work to meet community expectations. This often leads to frustration, connection with former, negative acquaintances and to violations of parole or new charges. This program was developed to assist with offender transition and to reduce recidivism.
Basis of Program:
It is a circle process designed to provide support and accountability for persons reentering community from a criminal detention facility. Participants provide insight and options in six life areas: Employment, Family/Marital, Associates/Social Interaction, Substance Abuse, Community Functioning, and Personal/Emotional with weekly contract items in at least one of these areas.
Any age person coming to the community from prison or a youth detention facility will be considered. They must be willing to participate by signing a contract and must give permission to have this requirement added to their parole plan (if on parole). Priority is given to those who show desire and motivation to change behavior and their lifestyle in order to stay out of prison. Participants must take responsibility for the crimes committed and those affected by them.
The core member is the offender who was released from detention or prison and is reentering the area. Circle members may be comprised of anyone with a particular stake in the community who successfully complete training requirements and agree to follow the outlined duties of a circle member. The participants remain the same for the duration of the process so that relationships can develop and grow.
Duration of Process:
The Community Circle meets for the duration of parole contract or up to one year. The group determines how often they meet within that timeframe and changes it as needed though they begin with a weekly meeting for at least one hour in length. Average commitment is for one year.
The goal is for the core member to lead a crime free and healthy lifestyle. A contract is produced each week with a maximum of three items to be completed and a circle member assigned to each for the purpose of assisting the offender. These items are designed to be steps toward the accomplishment of long-term goals in each of the six life areas outlined above.
Contact EVRJP to learn more about Community Circles.