The history of the citizens jury process was begun independently by Peter Dienel, in Wuppertal, Germany, in January 1971, and Ned Crosby, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in March 1971. Although Dienel called it a Planungszelle, and Crosby called it a citizen committee, both were manifestations of approximately the same concept, namely, to what extent can a democratic process similar to a courtroom jury empower citizens, as jurors, to engage in reasonable and informed discussion on public policy issues?

Dienel created his method based upon work he did at a conference center where he observed many groups having dialogues with each other and upon his views on democracy stemming from his doctoral work in sociology. He decided to work with groups of 20 to 25 randomly selected ...

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