Restorative Justice

Restorative justice unites our clients, parents and the community in a humane, just program that repairs harm, restores lives and helps grow our future community leaders.

Lawndale Christian Legal Center firmly believes that youth cannot succeed without the community’s embrace. It is key to the concept of Restorative Justice, which employs tools provided by the community – social and psychological services, education, employment opportunities and conflict resolution – to find a more just and fair way for young people to repair harm done to people and the community. It is a positive step toward ending the arrest/incarcerate/release/repeat cycle that has not made communities safer or anyone’s life better.

The North Lawndale Community Restorative Justice Hub (RJ Hub) was launched out of our deep commitment to grassroots leadership and coalition building. The RJ Hub is a collaboration of 30 community-based service providers, local government leaders, schools, churches, police, and people who live, work, or worship in North Lawndale.

We now lead a groundbreaking collaboration between the RJ Hub and the Circuit Court of Cook County who created the first-ever Restorative Justice Community Court (RJCC) in North Lawndale. Since 2017, the RJCC has negotiated peace within the community and helped a significant number of emerging adults find a more constructive solution to repair harm than incarceration.

LCLC is also an active member of the leadership circle for Chicago’s seven citywide RJ Hubs. This collaboration acts as the central support for the coordination of the holistic, community-based work of the existing hubs and helps to successfully launch new RJ Hubs throughout the city.

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What is Restorative Justice?

It is a tool to right wrongs and repair harm on the community by working with the community.

It replaces a legal system focused on punishing wrongs with one focused on making things right.

It doesn’t assume incarceration is the only solution to crime.

How it differs from Criminal Justice.

It focuses on human harm rather than broken laws.

It asks what’s needed to repair the harm rather than who broke the law.

It asks whose obligation this is instead of what do they deserve.