We see it all around us now. A fresh discussion of what true justice at the street level ought to look like. And it does not much resemble a criminal justice system that fills County Jail with young men with petty offenses who can’t make bond, or worse are dealing with mental illness. And it does not much resemble a discipline system at Oak Park and River Forest High School that disproportionately nabs African-American students and labels them as flawed and worrisome.

Alternatively, we are listening to John Williams from Oak Park Township Youth Services and OPRF board member Jackie Moore, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin and President Toni Preckwinkle, Dominican University Professor Samina Hadi-Tabassum and D200 board candidates Michelle Mbekeani-Wiley and Sara Dixon-Spivey, who are talking about what is broadly called Restorative Justice.

To us it sounds more like common-sense ideas on how to engage young people on the verge of mistakes, hold them accountable within a community that cares about them, and connect them with people and services that are positive not punitive.

This is an area for OPRF, which is rightly focused on racial equity, to embrace. 

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