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Facilitating Restorative Group Conferences

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1 Facilitating Restorative Group Conferences
RGC Facilitating Restorative Group Conferences Lesson 4: Role of the Facilitator Minnesota Department of Corrections with the National Institute of Corrections

2 Lesson Objectives (1) Listen to and communicate effectively with a wide variety of participants Identify and deal with cultural issues Explain the role of the facilitator including standards of conduct Understand the legal issues including confidentiality and mandatory reporting

3 (2) Understand the variety of options to repair the harm
Conduct effective initial phone calls and pre-meetings Assess the readiness of potential participants Start to determine if the facilitator role is a good fit for you Evaluate your own competency and that of a co-facilitator

4 Communication Exercise
Who are my people and where did I come from? Who is my family?

5 What was it like to do the exercise?
How did it feel to listen? To talk? Was one harder than the other? Were you working against any other kind of family or cultural training about communicating? Were your observations & guesses accurate? If yes, have there been times when assumptions were very inaccurate? What kind of difficulties did that create? How did you feel talking about your people?

6 Dynamics of Difference
White middle class (mainstream) culture has been imposed upon minorities Used to judge intelligence, mental health, beauty, appropriate communication Mainstream values applied to others draw mainstream conclusions

7 Cultural Competence . . . Ability to work effectively with people whose culture is different from your own Requires understanding your own biases Requires understanding the differences of people with whom you interact

8 Cultural Diversity Race Gender Sexual orientation Power imbalance
Age differences Physical abilities National origin Lifestyle differences Economic level Religion Philosophical beliefs Education

9 Implications Implications in case assessment
Which cases are referred for conferencing Implications during the conference Being impartial to all participants Drawing conclusions from the conversation

10 Cross Cultural Communication Worksheet
Eye contact: looking someone in eye Slow speech, lots of pauses Smiling and laughing during serious event Sitting slouched down in chair at conference with arms crossed over chest and eyes on floor

11 Assumptions Don’t assume you know a person’s sexual orientation, race, religion or other cultural practices It is okay to say you are not knowledgeable about a given culture It is okay to ask participants to help you understand how their culture affects how the harm was done or how it impacted upon them

12 What is a hate crime?

13 Hate Crimes (2) Crimes committed against a person
simply because of some physical characteristic or belief of theirs, such as race, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion

14 Hate Crimes (3) What distinguishes a hate crime from other crimes?
How might a hate crime feel different to a victim? Why? What additional considerations or concerns might you (as a facilitator) have with a hate crime case?

15 Local Culture Activity
How are people different from each other in this community? What barriers to communication might arise with these differences? What strategies can be employed to help make all participants in a conference feel safe and empowered?

16 Taking Care of Yourself As a Facilitator: Being Centered . . .
enables you to focus through others’ pain, frustration, extreme feelings, and ability or inability to reach agreement

17 Care of a Facilitator (1)
Before a pre-meeting or conference, establish a place of inner calm Sit or stand with body balanced Breathe deeply Afterwards, talk with a colleague or another facilitator for feedback and self assessment

18 Care of a Facilitator (2)
Say out loud one thing you did well Breathe! Continue daily care


20 Functions of a Facilitator
Educate potential participants in pre-meetings Bring conference treats, forms, tissues, and name tags Create safe atmosphere Allow for free expression of emotion Aid participants’ communication process Help group develop creative, realistic agreement, if willing Write agreement; get signatures Complete paperwork and follow up on agreement (or program staff)

21 Facilitator As Umpire You are not one of the game players
You watch the game You remind participants of the rules if necessary You throw the conversational ball back into the game so participants can play You are not responsible for the final score --Officer Paul Schnell

22 Basic Facilitator Communication Skills (1)
Eliminate distractions Demonstrate active listening Suspend judgement Be empathetic Try not to assume

23 (2) Be aware and tolerant of differences in communication styles
Allow speakers to vent Model and teach use of "I" statements Be aware of your emotions and biases Acknowledge the speaker's emotions as existing and legitimate

24 Body Language Eye contact to all
Physically centered, sitting with body balanced, able to see everyone easily Alert, but relaxed muscles Use body and eye contact to direct speaker to talk to all

25 Vocal Language Tone of voice: encouraging, calm, reassuring
“I” statements Neutral word choices Use of silence: 10 counts after question, 10 counts after answers

26 Allowing Emotional Expression
Keep facial expressions neutral or supportive Gently pass tissues to teary participants Check in on all participants Use silence: count 10 after a strong emotional expression If participant expresses anger inappropriately, remind them of ground rules

27 Problematic Facilitation Techniques
Talking for participants Interrupting Dominating participants’ discussion Allowing participants to only look at or talk to facilitator

28 How to Give Feedback Using Communication Checklist
Separate behavior from person Suggest alternatives Acknowledge skills displayed Be honest, but talk with intention of helping to improve Look to learn for yourself

29 Typical Duties, Responsibilities and Qualifications of Facilitators
See Participant Guide Refer to your agency or program’s job description

30 Summary: Role of the Facilitator
Be compassionate, sincere, respectful Listen! Let people vent their emotions Stay neutral (“equally partial”), while disapproving of harm done Be a facilitator, not judge or negotiator Do not be directive

31 (2) Don’t counsel participants Be aware of community resources
Model and teach communication skills Be able to work independently Be willing to keep records Be able to do a very basic readiness check Be willing to evaluate yourself and co-facilitator – See tool in manual!

32 Know thyself. --Socrates
Self Assessment Know thyself. --Socrates

33 Preparation Meetings Enable All Participants to …
Recall and sort out feelings about the incident Gain comfort with the process and facilitator Learn the process expectations and benefits Decide whether to participate Understand the process and agree to the ground rules Minimize their fears Plan what they want to say about the effects of the harm done

34 Work on their communication skills
Work through some of their feelings Decide who they would like as support people Understand restorative concept and begin thinking about options for the agreement Decide where and when to meet In a case with many people harmed or many people doing harm, decide if there will be one or several meetings Develop realistic expectations

35 Pre-Meetings Allow the Facilitator to …
Inform potential participants about conferencing process, to aid their informed choice Decide whether participants are appropriate and ready for a meeting Develop a strategy to deal with potential difficulties or complicating factors Determine which support persons are appropriate and possibly prepare them

36 Initial Phone Calls Offender and parents Victim and supporter

37 Preparing for Pre-Meetings: Safety Issues
If juveniles, schedule with parent Never enter or remain at residence in which you feel uncomfortable Never continue meeting if you feel parties are too angry or are under influence of a chemical Be careful about revealing any private information

38 Preparing for Pre-Meetings: Conference Co-Facilitation
More difficult to coordinate scheduling Increases safety Allows observing things one person might have missed Helps facilitate difficult or complex sessions Enables shared feedback, viewpoints

39 Preparing for Pre-Meetings: Legal Issues
Confidentiality Admissibility in court Data privacy restrictions Mandatory reporting Protection against lawsuit For facilitation For damage or injury in completing reparation Parent’s legal financial responsibility

40 Preparing for Pre-Meetings: Options for the Agreement
Financial payment Work for victim Work for the charity of victim’s choice Restorative community service Apology Participation in education, assessment, or program Anything else that feels fair to all participants Combination of the above

41 Preparing for Pre-Meetings: Facilitator Standards of Conduct
In small groups, spend 5 minutes brainstorming and recording: What should be the standards of conduct for conference facilitators? (Don’t look further in Participant Guide!)

42 Model Standards of Conduct
National civil mediator standards are in your manual Review on your own time

43 Pre-Meetings Allow the Offender and Parent to
Consider how the harm may have impacted others Understand difference between conferencing and disciplinary or justice processes Perhaps learn about the victim’s attitude and circumstances Make an informed decision about participating Consider some ways they might realistically make up for the harm done

44 Tips for Working with Parents
Validate the parents’ feelings Allow them to vent Treat them with compassion Allow time for them to talk Find time to visit with the youth alone if possible

45 Parents Needing Special Consideration
Controlling - frequently intervene for their children Minimizing - make light of the behavior of their child Angry/punitive - fed up and want their child to be punished Passive/overwhelmed - have given up emotionally and possibly in every other way

46 Offender and Parent(s) Initial Face to Face Meeting

47 Processing Questions How did it feel in each of your roles?
What did you see that you liked? Was a reasonable agreement reached? What made it difficult to reach consensus? What helped to move the group along? How could the facilitator have improved their performance?

48 Pre-Meetings Empower the Victim to …
Vent their anger and frustration Experience validation of their feelings Understand the difference between conferencing and disciplinary or justice processes Learn about rights, alternatives and resources Perhaps learn about the offender Make an informed decision about participating Develop realistic expectations Decide if they wish to speak first

49 Victim and Supporter Initial Face to Face Meeting

50 Processing Questions How did it feel in each of your roles?
What did you see that you liked? Was a reasonable agreement reached? What made it difficult to reach consensus? What helped to move the group along? How could the facilitator have improved their performance?

51 Preparing Supporters and Other Community
Invite those that belong Avoid those who are inappropriate Make sure everyone is clear on roles Supporters & other community members will: Bring resources and knowledge Bring creative perspective for repairing harm Help re-integration Strengthen the community itself Establish base of support for program

52 Problem Points: Multiple Offenders
Preference of the victim Safety of all individuals Power imbalance Offenders disagree about their personal shares of the culpability

53 Conferencing with Multiple Offenders
Consider separate conferences when: Victim requests to see them separately Many offenders and few (or only one) victim Offenders are in placement Offenders have disproportionate levels of culpability

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