Roosevelt University’s Mansfield Institute to be Player in Cook County’s First Restorative Justice Court

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–April 15, 2016.  Roosevelt University’s Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation is celebrating a decision by the Cook County Circuit Court to create the county’s first Restorative Justice Community Court in Chicago.

An advocate for community solutions, justice reform and a leader in moving restorative justice forward in the criminal justice system and communities, the Mansfield Institute has received a $24,000 grant from the Polk Foundation to do planning and implementation for the pilot project.

Empowering victims and residents to play an active role in rehabilitation of offenders who commit nonviolent crimes, restorative justice emphasizes the way crime harms relationships and communities, bringing together those most impacted by the crime to resolve it. Under the model, defendants take accountability for their actions and work to repair harm they have caused through restitution, community service, letters of apology, peace circles, etc.

The Mansfield Institute has been named lead evaluator for the project. The new restorative justice court is expected to open in early 2017 in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood.

Heather Dalmage, director of the Mansfield Institute, and Nancy Michaels, associate director, both praised the project as a major step forward for restorative justice in Cook County and beyond with the following statement:

“We are pleased to share the announcement made by Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans that we’ve been given funding for the planning and implementation of the first ever Restorative Justice Community Court in Cook County. The funding is the result of an 18-month process to develop this innovative alternative to the traditional justice processes.

“The tireless efforts of a close collaborative partnership include the leader of the project, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Colleen Sheehan and the Resource section of the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection of the Circuit Court, and Judge Evans’ executive office, LCLC, a number of restorative justice community leaders, and the Mansfield Institute, an advocate for community solutions, justice reform and a leader in moving restorative justice forward in our systems and communities, has been named the lead evaluator for this court.”

The court’s April 14 announcement about the new pilot project can be viewed in its entirety at: