Areas of Focus

Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ)

Meeting public safety challenges
with socially just solutions.

Areas of Focus

Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice seeks to create momentum for modern, effective solutions that transform and improve current public safety methodology. Our areas of focus are:

  • Addressing Trauma
  • Decriminalization of Communities
  • Building Community Capacity

Addressing Trauma

To encourage a framework that improves public safety.
IPSSJ provides training to public safety, judicial system and security professionals on a variety of tactics to modernize conflict resolution strategies. Our training model stems from concepts in community mental health, restorative justice, trauma-informed care, and urban planning.

Current initiatives:

  • Organizing local and state-level coalitions on education policy and community trauma
  • Presenting research on the lasting impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • Conducting organizational training workshops to help groups become trauma-informed
  • Trauma-Informed Cities: Extensive community training projects projects which provide overarching strategies for enhancing community wellness

Social Justice Simulations

IPSSJ offers two "Social Justice Simulations" on the impact of marginalization:

1. Discovering challenges of the formerly incarcerated upon re-entering society
2. Exploring the effects of income inequality

Both simulations allow groups (up to 25 individuals) to participate in a three-hour experience. Contact us to learn more about joining a social justice simulation or hosting at your organization.

Decriminalization of Communities

To promote a culture shift from more punitive measures to more personal accountability.
IPSSJ proposes innovative solutions to address the rising rate of recidivism and create a rehabilitational path for formerly incarcerated persons. Inspired by the guiding principles of "collective efficacy," our projects, values and partnerships help create safer neighborhoods.

Current initiatives:

Community Anti-Violence Education (CAVE) Project

Through the CAVE project in partnership with Danville Correctional Center, IPSSJ works to address trauma triggers through a program in which inmates are taught by current inmate co-facilitators and others on how to better manage and redirect their emotions.

Building Community Capacity

To help organizations and community groups develop better wellness strategies.
Community-based and corporate organizations play a vital role in educating their constituents. IPSSJ helps organizations develop programming on wellness and public safety, and assists with strategic planning and program evaluation. We work with organizations, agencies, and community-based nonprofits to build a framework for better health and safety.

Current projects include:

Community Restorative Justice Hubs

Community Restorative Justice Hubs are a collaboration between IPSSJ, thought leaders and community-based organizations which offer trauma-informed alternatives to detention for youth in communities with public safety challenges across Chicagoland. In addition to providing training to the network of Community Restorative Justice Hubs, IPSSJ analyzes and evaluates program data, and has a "Learning Academy" where hubs educate each other on their focus areas.

Learn more about the network, attend an upcoming information session and learn how to become a hub at the Community Restorative Justice Hubs website.

Our current Community Restorative Justice Hubs are:

  • Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR)
    Located in border of the Back of the Yards and Englewood neighborhoods, PBMR provides expertise in restorative justice circles, and programming.
  • Urban Life Skills (ULS)
    Located in North Lawndale/Little Village, ULS offers programs to mentor youth and cultivate employable skills.
  • Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC)
    Located in North Lawndale, LCLC specializes in providing legal services and representation to youth involved in the criminal justice system.
  • Circles and Ciphers
    Located in Rogers Park, Circles and Ciphers hosts community circles and offers arts-based programming to youth, some of whom are in the DCFS system.
  • Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO)
    Located in Humboldt Park, ALSO provides restorative justice programs and is engaged in community outreach to empower youth in its community.
  • Target Area Development Corporation
    Located in the Auburn-Gresham area, Target provides restorative justice and educational programs as well as re-entry services for formerly incarcerated youth.

View a map of IPSSJ's Community Restorative Justice partners.

Contact Us

Interested organizations should contact us for details on our projects and initiatives. For more information on upcoming events, join our mailing list.