Citizen participation and guidance is essential for correctional practices inside and outside institutions. Citizen Circles focus on seven dynamic domain areas.
- Associates/Social Interactions
- Substance Abuse
- Community Functioning
- Personal/Emotional Orientation
The Citizen Circles meet on a regular basis to discuss offender progress, review plans, interview new applicants, admit new members, and to discharge both successful and unsuccessful offenders. The Adult Parole Authority [APA] began the implementation of "Citizen Circles" prior to the adoption of the Ohio Plan on Reentry. In February 2003, three Citizen Circles were operating with locations in Marion, Elyria and Mansfield. As of September 2004, 19 Citizen Circles were in progress, representing all seven Adult Parole Authorities.
Citizen Circles create partnerships that promote positive interaction and accountability for offenders upon release. The Citizen Circle creates an environment which fosters acceptance and focuses on offenders' personal strengths. Circle members address risks that contribute to criminal activity, by taking ownership of the solution.
It is an opportunity for citizens to communicate expectations for successful reentry, and to help offenders recognize the harm their past behavior has caused others. Offenders are able to make amends, and demonstrate their value and potential to the community.
Offenders and their families develop relationships with members of the community and together develop a plan to help the offender become accepted as a productive citizen and member of the community.
The Citizen Circle helps offenders understand being a positive community member demands responsibility and obligation; a focus on the future rather than the past; and giving back through community service, such that contributions are key elements for success. Offenders seek involvement with a Citizen Circle voluntarily.