The correlation between high school dropout rate and violent crime is well documented. Miriam Kaba’s 2011 research report on crime in North Lawndale indicated that violence contributes to the 40 percent dropout rate of students in the community. She determined that many of our youth do not engage in constructive and cooperative relationships with each other, resulting in poor school attendance, non-involvement in after school and recreational programs, and a pervasive sense of fear to travel throughout the neighborhood.
Chicago LAMP aims to counteract these adverse effects by engaging youth in Restorative Justice peacemaking circles. We help form and facilitate these circles in the Chicago LAMP facility.
Restorative Justice practices help youth modify their behavior by building conflict resolution skills. According to the Balance and Restorative Justice (BARJ) philosophy, there was a 35 percent drop in detention referrals when peacemaking circles were implemented at various Chicago public schools.
As noted by restorativejustice.org, there are three founding principles of restorative justice:
- Justice requires that we work to restore those who have been injured.
- Those most directly involved and affected by crime should have the opportunity to participate fully in the response if they wish.
- Government’s role is to preserve a just public order, and the community’s is to build and maintain a just peace.