In 1978, members of Lawndale Community Church surveyed a group of Lawndale residents about their greatest needs. The residents listed inexpensive health care, a basketball gym, improved housing—and competent and affordable legal services. One by one the church found the means to meet these needs and in April, 2010, Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC) was established.
Since that time, LCLC has provided its services, free of charge, to Lawndale’s young people, 24 years old and under. We have walked hundreds of juveniles and emerging adults through, and away from, the criminal justice system. And we have enlisted the community’s support to help these young people grow into the citizens they were meant to be.
In 2017, LCLC made a lasting impact on the criminal justice system by leading a collaboration between the North Lawndale Community Restorative Justice Hub and the Circuit Court of Cook County. Together they established the first-ever Restorative Justice Community Court (RJCC) in North Lawndale. The RJCC helps emerging adults find ways to resolve disputes, take accountability for their actions, and repair harm to people and the community. It stands as a model of fair and humane justice, an alternative to putting kids in prison, and what can be done to break the cycle of arrest/incarcerate/release/repeat.