Transformative Practices in Social Work: Restorative Justice and Peacemaking Circles

Image of man and woman are sitting in chairs talking

November 17, 2017
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

NYU Silver School of Social Work
1 Washington Square North
New York, NY 10003

(Follow up/report-back session will be offered on 1/26/18 from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm).


Restorative circles are truly transformative. Within criminal justice efforts, restorative circles are used in sentencing, reentry, and to support individuals on the sex offender registry. Restorative circles are also used extensively in schools to build classroom cohesion, address racism, and reduce suspensions. Child welfare systems in the United States and abroad use restorative circles to plan for family reunification. Restorative circles are also used by organizations to team build, for strategic planning, and to solve disputes.

Restorative circles are valued in many communities around the globe as a way to repair harm caused between two or more parties and/or to build a shared sense of purpose related to common goals. There is a growing movement of social workers and restorative justice practitioners who seek to use restorative methods, rather than traditional clinical methods, by implementing circle processes in schools, community outreach and organizing, and criminal justice practice. Join us to learn how you can use restorative circles to increase dialogue and collective action with clients, families, and communities; make decisions about responsibility and accountability in the workplace; and create a place for trust and shared wisdom.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to: 
  • Connect the history of restorative practices to social work best practices
  • Explain the value and purpose for utilizing circles to repair harm
  • Plan and facilitate a restorative circle
  • Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the circle process



Vivianne Guevara, LMSW

Vivianne Guevara is the Director of Client and Mitigation Services at the Federal Defenders of New York in the Eastern District. Prior to joining The Federal Defenders, Vivianne was an Investigator and Social Worker at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, where she supported litigation that challenged conditions in juvenile and adult jails and prisons in Georgia and Alabama, the provision of indigent defense in Georgia, and the proliferation of debtor’s prisons in Georgia. She also worked with clients individually to reduce the impact of the collateral consequences that resulted from civil and criminal court involvement. Vivianne began working in public defense as a Social Worker at the Bronx Defenders, where she worked with clients charged in domestic violence and mental health courts.

While working towards her Master’s Degree in Social Work, Vivianne was an Outreach Specialist at The Bowery Residents’ Committee where she worked one-on-one with persistently homeless individuals on the streets and in the subways of New York City. She interned at the Dr. Susan McKinney Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn and worked on case management and discharge planning with clients suffering through long-term dementia, terminal illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, and short-term rehabilitation.  Vivianne is a graduate of New York University and Columbia University’s School of Social Work.

Vivianne holds a certificate in Restorative Justice and Restorative Circles and received training from Kay Pranis, Planning Change, and the International Institute in Restorative Practices. She facilitates circles for her clients, fellow staff, non-profit organizations and community members.