GSU to Contribute to South Suburban Restorative Justice Project

University Park, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Governors State University will participate in the grant that supports the development of community-owned restorative justice programing to lower the numbers of youth entering the juvenile court system. The Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice Project (IBARJP) recently received a $300,000 grant from the First United Methodist Church of Evergreen Park (UMCMG, Inc.).

GSU is contributing to the technical assistance component of this project. University faculty will also monitor the project’s activities, evaluate progress in spreading the use of restorative justice practices, and identify ways to sustain the practices beyond the two-year grant period.

“We are pleased to participate with the Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice Project in a program that has the potential to generate positive change by encouraging community ownership of local crime and delinquency problems,” said Dr. James “Chip” Coldren, Interim Assistant Provost at Governors State University. “Restorative justice practices have strong potential to improve the safety and welfare of the region, and in cost effective ways that place less burden on taxpayers.”

Schools and communities in Illinois and across the nation have already adopted restorative justice tools such as peer juries, victim-offender mediation, and peacemaking circles. These strategies help resolve conflicts among students and residents, reduce the need for police intervention, reduce the number of youth sent to juvenile court, and hold youth accountable for their decisions by giving them an opportunity to repair harm caused by their actions.

“Neighborhoods have the wisdom within them to create safe communities,” said¬† Sally Wolf, Executive Director of IBARJP and Project Leader for the South Suburban Restorative Justice Project. “By empowering citizens and giving them the tools to step up, lasting change can occur, and safety can return, creating the kinds of neighborhoods where children, youth and families can thrive.”

IBARJP, a non-profit statewide coalition of restorative justice practitioners, will host conversations, strategic planning sessions, and provide training and technical assistance to communities for the project. 

For more information about the project, call (217) 778-3351.