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The HBC Model

The Facts: Mass Incarceration in the United States

Over two million people are locked up in the United States, while an additional 4.5 million are under probation and other forms of correctional control. Of the 600,000 released from prison annually, more than half will return within one year, more than three quarters will return within five. To operate this revolving door, the U.S. spends $80 billion a year. If we add in the economic burden borne by incarcerated individuals and by those who have committed no crime—their families, children and community members—the cost of incarceration balloons to an estimated one trillion dollars.

Because the U.S disproportionally monitors and locks up people of color and those from marginalized and vulnerable communities, and burdens people with lifelong collateral consequences, it actively reinforces and generates racial inequity, trauma, poverty, violence, addiction, crime, lack of opportunity, and other devastating outcomes.

The persistent misinformation that crime, as well as many of the conditions that breed it—poverty, racism, trauma, structural inequalities, abuse, addiction—are primarily the result of personal failings and “bad actors,” has given cover to institutional failings and created systems of punishment that actively reinforce and generate ills that threaten public safety. 


We can do things differently. At HBC we are.

At Healing Broken Circles we create spaces of community, opportunity, accountability, learning and healing, where individuals can thrive and institutional change can take root and grow.

The most noticeable change for me has been the increase in my self-awareness, self-confidence and self-worth. I have the capacity to learn, adapt and evolve so there is no challenge that I cannot overcome.”            — Todd S.

The Healing Broken Circles Model 


Realizing potential is both an individual and community act. Growth happens outside-in as much as inside-out. HBC’s spaces of support, safety and fun allow for collaborative up-building and a community that can mirror and confirm positive growth and change, as well as the opposite.

Incarcerated Leadership

HBC’s empowers and amplifies people who are incarcerated with a diversity of resources, skills and support network, to build solutions for themselves and others, and to create real change for those most limited by social and racial injustices. Working as a community, everything we do is developed, implemented, and managed with or by those directly impacted by incarceration, addiction, and adversity.

Communal Peer Mentoring

By breaking down the distinction of helper and helped, HBC’s communal peer-mentoring model actively dissolves us-and-them distinctions, making it possible to ask for support without a feeling of diminishment and to give support without a feeling of superiority. The Circle, which has no head or tail, is an essential embodiment of our approach.

Strength-based & Healing-centered

People have unique talents, skills and life events, in addition to specific unmet needs. HBC’s strength-based approach collaborates with participants to identify capabilities and talents and to build on them. Recognizing signs and symptoms of trauma and responding with proven pathways to recovery, we create respectful and restorative environments where people can heal their circles.

We think of a lifeline as a rope. You grab it and someone else pulls you up. But that’s not it at all. LifeLine is a vein already inside us. Mine was a faint, barely pulsing trickle. But in here, I found it and I strengthened it, and now it courses through me.”         — Dion

The "BIG M"

Belonging, Independence, Generosity and Mastery, what we call the BIG M. Our work is driven by the understanding that when these four elements are present and intact, a person can be secure, confident, pro-social, heal, and learn more about themselves and the world.

Integrative Programming for the Whole Person

HBC provides opportunities that cross the usual distinctions between wellness, education, creative expression, job readiness, and more, because we believe that people thrive when their whole self is addressed. We encourage people to train and engage in multiple areas of learning, participation, and development simultaneously.

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