PROJECTCatalyst Grant Program



James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy

Envisioning Alternative Models of Accountability

Cook County, IL

As an alternative to the criminal legal system, Cook County, Illinois, operates three Restorative Justice Community Courts in Chicago that adjudicate nonviolent offenses involving young adults. Through these courts, young adults can develop “Repair of Harm Agreements.” Once participants meet the terms of those agreements, the state dismisses their charges and the court expunges their records. Since successful community conversations about the potential development of one of these courts and/or other alternative, community-led models of accountability in Evanston, the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy has convened a working group of practitioners, researchers, and system-impacted people to set out a vision, timeline, and structure for Evanston’s Restorative Justice Community Court and other alternative local systems of accountability.  

With Catalyst Grant funding, the Moran Center will employ system-impacted young adults from the working group to collect data from community members on their needs and visions for building restorative, community-led systems of accountability. Through surveys, one-on-one dialogues, and small group discussions focused on healing and repairing harm, the center will synthesize the collected data and use the findings to guide its next steps in building alternative local accountability systems.


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