What If There Was An Alternative to Jail?

Cliff Nellis, a respected Chicago lawyer, is taking a different approach to justice: asking victims to sit down with their attacker, and talk, face to face.

It’s called restorative justice, which relies on community, and not incarceration, to fight violence and crime.

Restorative justice centers around the idea that young people need the embrace of a community and conflict resolution, to thrive; that, for many crimes, justice can be about repairing harm more than meting out punishment. After the victim and the attacker meet, the victim can decide if they want to press charges.

Nellis is now the Executive Director of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center, which provides free legal services to members of his Chicago community. That includes restorative justice groups and the support of mental health and job training professionals.

It’s working: 89% of the kids and young adults Nellis has worked with have not returned to crime.

Lawndale Christian Legal Center is a graduate of Stand Together Foundation’s Catalyst Program, a selective six-month management and leadership development experience that unlocks the potential of America’s highest-performing nonprofits. Learn more about the Catalyst Program, including how to apply.