Areas of Focus

Meeting public safety challenges 
with socially just solutions.

Meeting public safety challenges
with socially just solutions.

Areas of Focus

Addressing Trauma

To build public safety systems that heal and address trauma rather than recreate it.

Safety is ultimately about relationships. It is about the ways we treat ourselves, each other, and the communities we encounter. Yet this basic truth is often not honored through our public safety laws, policies, or practices. Typically, public safety professionals are trained to isolate and confine, no matter what the scenario is or what a situation may require. Many have little to no preparation in improving the quality of relationships in the neighborhoods, towns, or cities where they work.

While confinement may sometimes be necessary, it is only one of many possible options. At IPSSJ we help train public safety professionals – from police officers, to school security guards, to judges – in a broad array of strategies for handling conflict and preventing harm. These strategies draw from the fields of trauma-informed care, community justice, restorative justice, urban planning and community mental health.

Decriminalization of Communities

To support a cultural shift away from punishment and towards real accountability.

Prisons are only “correctional” in name. Recidivism in American prisons is generally over 50%. This indicates that strictly punitive approaches have limited power to alter human behavior. Instead, the IPSSJ proposes transformative solutions to public safety challenges, where taxpayer dollars are used to create true accountability and healing, actively supporting human potential, rather than just multiplying the harm in any situation.

Bringing this objective to life requires expanding the use of alternatives to incarceration and strengthening the human development capacities of communities. When these goals are pursued in ways that enhance local social networks, then public safety systems can begin to rebuild the ‘collective efficacy’ that recent sociological studies have shown to be foundational to neighborhood safety.

Building Community Capacity

To help organizations plan safety strategies that promote functionality and wellness.

Neighborhood organizations play a vital role in supporting, empowering and educating community residents. IPSSJ helps organizations to strengthen their public safety programming, assisting with their strategic planning and evaluation. We focus on partnerships with innovative organizations that have a demonstrated commitment to partnering with the families and leaders in the areas where they work.

Currently, we are partnering with the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Austin Coming Together, Fearless Leading by the Youth the Community Justice for Youth Institute, and St. Leonard’s Adult Ministries. In each of these partnerships we strive to balance rigorous evaluation with a commitment to programmatic development and long-term success. Each of these groups were selected because we believe they have the potential to serve as national models for violence prevention and community empowerment.