The first section of this article will describe what Restorative Justice is to get a better understanding of this alternative to the punitive criminal justice system. It will then describe the work done by the Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome through the lens of Restorative Justice. It will move on to the state of the criminal justice system in Cook County and the United States, particularly in how it treats criminal behavior. In particular, it will compare the work of Sant’Egidio to the Restorative Justice work being done by state Drug Treatment Courts. Federal reentry courts address the problems of reintegration of prisoners in the criminal justice system. Finally, it will then argue that the type of work done by the Community of Sant’Egidio needs to be imported to the criminal justice system of Cook County and beyond. It would create a radically different approach to criminal justice that would address the root causes of criminal behavior, using the Community’s approach of treating people who have committed crimes through the prism of friendship and accountability that should be incorporated into criminal justice reform in Chicago.
Sheila M. Murphy & Scott M. Priz, Restorative Justice in Chicago and Abroad: Comparing the Work of the Community of Sant’Egidio to the Restorative Justice in the United States, 50 J. Marshall L. Rev. 511 (2017)