Our Guideposts

Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice seeks to promote the philosophy of restorative justice through advocacy, education, and collaboration and to realize the goal of restorative communities and systems across Illinois. Our work includes a variety of restorative approaches including community-building circles, grieving and celebration circles, and processes designed to prevent and repair harm and restore relationships. 

With a network of statewide training consultants, IBARJ has the capacity to customize and facilitate trainings for nonprofit and corporate organizations, criminal justice and legal system entities and school districts in counties across Illinois that are seeking or considering a systemic paradigm shift toward restorative justice practices. 

Our IBARJ Board members share a commitment to restorative justice values and the belief that racial equity, dignity and humanity should ground all our personal and institutional practices. We further believe that doing restorative justice work with integrity requires that we seek to act in congruence with restorative principles.

At IBARJ, We Envision Restorative Justice as:

(from the Grounding Principles of Restorative Justice) 

  • A relationship-building process that is responsive to needs 
  • An environment that fosters dignity, humanity, respect, agency, empathy and mutual well-being 
  • Preventative when the values of restorative justice are embraced by a community; restorative justice is not always reactionary or contingent on the existence of conflict 
  • Recognizing the capability of those most impacted by conflict, especially youth, to lead the change 
  • Voluntary for all participants 
  • A conflict-engagement process that creates conditions for acknowledging, learning from and repairing harm and promoting healing for all 
  • Inclusive, valuing that everyone has a story and a voice 
  • Grounded in “power with” not “power over” 
  • A process focused on the community taking responsibility when harm occurs, rather than government and systematic responsibility 
  • Centered by an understanding of and a commitment to practices and contexts that are anti-op- pressive, including struggles to end racism, sexism, ableism, adultism, ageism, transphobia, heterosexism and other forms of privilege and domination 
  • An understanding that interpersonal acts of violence are connected to structural violence and with the responsibility to boldly expose and address structural violence 
  • An institutional system supported by adequate institutional resources to enable creation and sustainability of positive, supportive, non-punitive environments 
  • A way of being in community with others that requires time and commitment from all community members in order to make long-standing, structural change 
  • A paradigm shift from a retributive to a restorative mindset in not only the ways in which we treat one another but also in how we think about conflict and justice.
  • Dynamic, reflecting communities’ unique needs, cultures, and creativity.