The Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ) supports capacity-building efforts at eight Community Restorative Justice Hubs thanks to a two-year, $200,000 grant from the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation.
The Restorative Justice Hubs are a community-led approach to youth crime and conflict in Chicago. Restorative justice aims to repair the harm caused by crime and conflict by engaging all impacted parties and by determining a resolution that meets their needs and promotes community safety. The hubs also connect youth to services to help them address trauma and develop new skills.
“With the support of the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, we are able to collaborate with our restorative justice partners to strengthen our work and take advantage of new opportunities,” said Elena Quintana, Ph.D., Executive Director of IPSSJ.
“This gift will fortify our efforts to create a society where public safety is determined by healing and accountability, and not simply punishment and isolation.”
The grant supported numerous initiatives, including an eight-month strategic planning process with the executive directors of 10 organizations participating in the hubs. The leaders established goals and identified opportunities for collective impact. A criminologist was hired last summer to analyze data, including crime trends, that can help the hubs work more effectively.
During the strategic planning process, the hub leaders identified projects they will embark on together over the next year to strengthen their impact. These projects include management training for nonexecutive staff to help them build connections across communities and a sports academy to connect youth through athletics.
Additionally, the hubs will launch a Youth Leadership Circle to give young participants a voice in the governance of the hubs. “Our hope is that these young people will become leaders for other youth in their communities, identify goals for collective action, and connect with larger movements toward equity,” said Matt Barrington, a fellow at IPSSJ.
The Restorative Justice Hubs already have delivered successful outcomes for the youth served and the broader communities. The vast majority of youth participating in three of the hubs in 2016 maintained or successfully completed their schooling, according to an analysis by the Illinois Justice Project. The analysis also found that the hubs successfully helped youth find and maintain employment.
Additionally, the Restorative Justice Hubs achieve these outcomes at a significantly lower cost than the traditional criminal justice system. The annual cost of services for one person at a hub ranged from about $4,000 to $8,000, while the annual cost of incarcerating a youth in Illinois is about $172,000, according to the report.