We Are Violence Prevention

A safer Chicago is possible. In four of the most segregated, under-resourced, and heavily policed neighborhoods in Chicago, we’re disrupting the lethal cycle of violence, cultivating restorative justice, and nurturing real change.

Join us. Together we can end violence in this city we all love.

Ending violence, restoring justice and giving the city’s most at-risk youth and young adults a meaningful path forward — at Lawndale Christian Legal Center that’s what we’ve been doing for the past 12 years. Our unique, holistic solution of social and legal services combines criminal legal defense with community partners - outreach workers, restorative justice circle keepers, and case managers - to undermine the arrest / incarcerate / release / repeat cycle that makes violence inevitable. We’ve seen it again and again in the communities we serve: Restorative Justice is a powerful force for violence prevention.

Criminal Legal Defense

We work exclusively with Chicago youth and young adults who are trapped in the cycle of crime, poverty, and violence. For 12 years, youth from our city’s toughest neighborhoods have sought out LCLC for legal representation. Once connected, we surround them with a community-based network of social support that addresses the poverty and isolation that motivate a repeat offense. 80% of our annual budget is dedicated to expanding safety and justice beyond the courtroom. And with a remarkable 67% reduction in re-arrest rates, our client stories are tangible proof that, together, we CAN stop the cycle of violence in Chicago.

Holistic Approach

For over a decade, LCLC has made a significant impact in violence prevention by treating our clients as whole people with unique stories. In addition to legal support, our outreach workers build trust and help strengthen client’s existing relationships, connecting families to support services like conflict mediation, employment counseling, and housing and food security. Our team casts a net of wraparound services that carries clients through, then away from, the criminal system. As a result, our clients become engaged and active community builders. And we stay committed to them as long as they need our support.

Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice rights wrongs and repairs harm to the community by working with the community. With the community, our clients learn to peacefully resolve conflict, build empathy, and repair harm. Our circle keepers help clients dig out the root causes of behaviors and beliefs, and directly respond to the damage those behaviors and beliefs have caused. The more our clients learn to trust themselves, and the community around them, the safer they feel. And the less likely they are to participate in violent crime.

Simply put - when its people feel safe, our community becomes safer.

1 out of 3 African-American boys born today can expect to be sentenced to prison.*

And once youth have entered the criminal justice system,
their odds of permanently exiting it are devastatingly small.

That’s why Justice Rising: Project 77 began.

Justice Rising: Project 77 is a coalition committed to community-led restorative justice throughout the 77 neighborhoods of Chicago. In each of these neighborhoods, clients under 25 are provided with an LCLC attorney, and surrounded by services from Justice Rising partners.

Together, we connect each youth or young adult to services for employment, school, trauma counseling, health care, mental health, entrepreneurship, mentoring, housing, spiritual guidance, sports, violence prevention, and substance abuse. And the vision for justice doesn’t stop here.

Imagine a Chicago without violence. With your support, it IS possible. Together, we can go beyond just preventing violence in this city we love. Together, we can end it.