NARJ’s most recent restorative circle at the Yavapai County Jail was characterized by humility.
Three volunteers from Northern Arizona Restorative Justice (NARJ) sat in a circle with a dozen inmates who had all been in and out of jail. Several of them had gone to prison. Some were on their way back there.
The men in this circle readily admitted that they had no idea how to stop the cycle of their addiction and incarceration on their own. They accepted that they didn't know how to fix their mistakes, in spite of their best efforts. Every one of the men had tried and given up hope.
The humility they allowed themselves to experience led them to be open to seeking solutions and asking for help.
These men admitted that they need people who can show them a better way of life. They need people who can help them repair the mistakes they made.
We know that's true for all of us. Repairing mistakes involves many people beyond the person making the mistake, as mistakes hurt individuals closest to them, as well as the community they live in. Mistakes can cause conflicts, and we must learn to restore peace after disputes happen, not an easy thing to do.
This is where NARJ steps in.
We help conflicted parties communicate and create a new contract that honors everyone.
Through using restorative principles, we come to understand that we live free, and keep our freedom, only by remembering, or in some cases by learning for the first time, how to live outside a prison of our own making. These men had learned to live in bondage, but no one had re-educated them about the joys we can experience or the responsibilities we need to take on in order to truly live a free life.
A necessary part of living happy, joyous, and free is approaching life with humility, an essential human characteristic, and yet one of the most difficult to acquire.
If you are in need of a circle of support after struggles with incarceration, NARJ meets at 6:30pm at the Camp Verde Library on the first Tuesday of every month.
If you are interested in volunteering with NARJ and receiving training in restorative principles and how to promote them, please reach out to us. We need volunteers to:
We also need volunteers to get our message to those who need to hear it. Please share what you know about our organization with others, visit us at narj.org, and talk about how our community is handling justice in a way that brings people back into our community with hope.
Bringing hope to broken people restores connections, and even the most humble of connections can plant the seeds to change a life.