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United States: Woods Fund Chicago launches Right On Justice initiative with Northern Ireland restorative justice leader
an article by Laurie Glenn (slightly abridged)

As the U.S. prison system continues to be vastly over-represented by youth of color and costs of incarceration continue to skyrocket, The Woods Fund Chicago launches [on October 22] its Right On Justice Initiative with an international symposium featuring Paula Jack, Northern Ireland's CEO of its Youth Justice Agency, Department of Justice.

click on photo to enlarge

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and other regional leaders will examine "lessons learned" from Northern Ireland, a formerly war-torn nation that has fundamentally embraced the underlying concept of restorative justice as a way to deliver justice. The half-day symposium will explore the impact of Restorative Justice in Northern Ireland and its potential implications for the Chicago region's juvenile justice and educational systems to stop the school-to-prison pipeline and reduce juvenile incarceration.

Restorative Justice is an international movement with growing national and local initiatives that offers an alternative to punitive justice systems and engages the victims of crimes in seeking ways to reduce harm that leads to reduced incarceration and increased school engagement.

Symposium speakers include:
Emmanuel Andre, Northwestern Children and Family Justice Center
Jenny Arwade, Executive Director, Albany Park Neighborhood Council
The Honorable Justice Anne Burke
Grace Hou, President, The Woods Fund of Chicago
The Honorable Sophia Hall, Judge, Circuit Court
Paula Jack, CEO, Youth Justice Agency, Department of Justice, Northern Ireland
Candice Jones, Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice
Elena Quintana, Executive Director, Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice, Adler School of Professional Psychology
The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle, President Cook County Board of Commissioners
Richard Steele, Talk Show Host, WBEZ Radio (moderator)
Ethan Viets-Van Lear, Circles and Ciphers
Laura Washington, Chicago Sun-Times Columnist & ABC-TV News Political Commentator (moderator) . . .

Illinois suspends proportionally more African-American students than any other state in the country, including 42% of all African- American students with disabilities. In Chicago, African American students are five times more likely to get an out of school suspension than white students. Although whites make up more than 50% of the Cook County population, 97% of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (CCJTDC) are youth of color (86% are African American). . .

Right On Justice is a two-year initiative funded by the Woods Fund Chicago and led by Chicago's Albany Park Neighborhood Council (APNC) and the Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice at the Adler School of Professional Psychology (IPSSJ).

The initiative will develop a regional coalition to: advocate for policies and support resources that identify and dismantle punitive policies at the school and community level; advance restorative justice alternatives to school push out and criminalization of communities of color; reform the Cook County justice system; and, build capacity for restorative justice solutions. For more information please go to


Question(s) related to this article:

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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Latest reader comment:

On this theme, I encourage CPNN readers to read Restorative Justice for Children in Brazil.

This report was posted on October 21, 2014.