Restorative Justice: shaping how we do community
Alternatives’ Restorative Justice program empowers young people and adults to become co-leaders in a process of healing and community-building — moving along a continuum of healing, growing and thriving. We provide training, leadership development, and capacity-building to support your school or organization in developing a more restorative culture.
Restorative Justice is grounded in the ancient idea that having people get a real sense of how they are connected and belong, addressing their needs, and building their skills can be more powerful and effective in creating a healthy and safe community than relying on fear of punishment and retribution could ever be.
School-based Restorative Justice
Alternatives’ school-based Restorative Justice program transforms school environments through training and technical assistance for school staff, as well as direct work with youth in schools citywide. Restorative approaches empower students to become leaders in violence prevention, conflict transformation, and school safety while also offering positive, skill-building alternatives to suspension and detention.
Alternatives, Inc. pioneered restorative justice practices in the Chicago Public Schools, leading the way with the very first high school peer jury in 1996. We have trained more than 10,000 CPS students and teachers in restorative justice practices that have been shown to successfully reduce the use of harsh discipline methods that disproportionately impact youth of color. Our program is currently partnering with more than 20 Chicago public schools to make Chicago a more restorative city.
Community Based Restorative Justice
Our staff are available to provide consultation to your organization, either to build a more restorative culture or to help navigate a crisis situation. There is a fee for these services, however we can work within your budget and sometimes have grants funds available to reduce the costs.
Alternatives’ provides an intensive curriculum to train youth and young adults in using Restorative Justice practices. This training is ideal for individuals who want to learn about conflict transformation, creating healing spaces, and understanding roots of violence. We explore ways to prevent harm to ourselves and our community through relationship-building.
This program, which centers young people who have been marginalized in a variety of ways (i.e. experiences with the criminal justice system, homelessness, etc.), builds on the unique strengths of participants and helps develop skills to reclaim their community. After completion, some participants might be eligible for paid positions as Peace Ambassadors
Alternatives’ Staff and Peace Ambassadors can provide training and coaching to support your organization through the process of using restorative practices to build stronger relationships and foster community resilience.
If the community of your organization has experienced harm, conflict, or loss, Alternatives’ staff and Peace Ambassadors can lead a set of Peace or Healing Circles to create space to address the situation as a community.