Basic Information & Standards

What is an RJ Hub?

RJ Hubs are a community led restorative justice approach to youth crime and conflict. Our vision is that RJ Hubs are safe spaces in the community where youth are welcomed and supported in building healthy relationships, expressing themselves, addressing trauma, and developing necessary skills and competencies.  Importantly, the RJ Hub model is directly informed by the latest science on childhood trauma. It is designed as a strategy for helping people to move beyond the effects of adverse childhood experiences, guiding them towards sustainable healing and growth.

What is the Mission of the RJ Hubs?

Through a restorative justice philosophy, RJ Hubs create safe and healthy community spaces where disconnected and court involved youth experience belonging, opportunity and positive transformation.

What is the Vision of the RJ Hubs?

Restorative Justice Hubs create healthy and nurturing communities where youth are welcomed and supported. Youth and families are engaged in pro-social, hospitable, and supportive ways that enable youth to express themselves and be supported in becoming responsible members of their community.

What are the values/principles of the hubs?

1) Welcoming and hospitality, 2) Accompaniment,3) Building Relationships with youth and families, 4) Relentless Engagement of stakeholders and systems, and 5) Learning Community.

  • Radical Hospitality: Providing a welcoming and safe space. Hospitality means that space is provided that welcomes youth in, that nourishes their spirits by being a place that is affirming and open to all willing to respect that space.  The respect of the space is the only prerequisite to belonging to that space.   Within this space, youth can expect to be provided models for positive boundaries and positive relationships with others.
  • Accompaniment: Young people are engaged for the long haul through mentoring and positive adult role models who engage the young person and are committed to “be there” for the youth for the long journey.  Accompaniment means that a caring, responsible adult will walk through obstacles, situations, or life’s moments offering support, advice, advocacy, and education.
  • Building Relationships with youth and families: Engaging in peacemaking circles and mentoring to promote healing, honest communication, conflict resolution, healthy relationships, connection and a sense of belonging.
  • Relentless engagement of stakeholders and systems: The ability to effectively link youth to resources needed to be successful while maintaining a strong presence in their life.
  • Learning Community: The strength and power of a community comes from stronger relationships within and between the members of the community and their supporters. True collaboration is a process where the collaborators continue to learn and be part of a learning community 

Assistance for RJ Hubs

How do we get resources for our hub?
  • Resources come from many different sources: grants can come from government, from corporate or private foundations to support the work of the lead agency.
  • Often times hubs can collaborate to apply in groups for dollars to make their applications more attractive to funders
  • The Adler University can provide templates and documents from which to draw when crafting your proposals, including evaluation materials drawn from the database
  • The philosophy behind funding the hubs is that collaboration and shared learning community strengthens our ability to attract and keep ongoing funding

Who are the youth served by the hub?

Court involved youth, ages 12-24 living in the neighborhoods that the hubs are located in.

How is an RJ Hub different from peace hubs or circles?

RJ Hubs are part of a learning community facilitated by the Leadership Circle and engage in information sharing and promoting best practices across the RJ Hubs.  In addition the RJ Hubs receive training in various areas related to the pillars including circle training, trauma training, mentoring training and more.  The RJ Hubs are also a part of a shared database where data is tracking individually by each RJ Hub but aggregate summary reports can also be pulled to report on efforts across the hubs.

How are circles used in the RJ Hubs?
  • RJ Hubs personnel are all trained in keeping circles for various reasons as they emerge.
  • Usage of circles can vary across sites as some sites have weekly circles around general topics, some sites utilize circles to promote community accountability and to resolve issues, to grieve, or to teach something new.
  • Circles may also often include family members and community members

Where can we obtain training for how to create our community RJ Hub?
  • If an organization becomes an RJ Hub, the RJ Hub Community Coordinator and the RJ Hub Evaluation Coordinator will work with the site to assess current status and capacity and what types of trainings are needed.  The Coordinators will work with the new hub to obtain the necessary trainings, some trainings could be provided from the current RJ Hubs and partners.
  • A primary training would be the Restorative Justice Circle Training.  This would be a place to start in conjunction with other training to be determined based on current capacities and interests of specific sites

Can we get ongoing assistance as we work to help create a community restorative justice hub in our community?

Our RJ Hub Community Coordinator is working to reach out to possible new and emerging RJ Hubs and to gauge current capacity to become a hub as well as assess the level and types of training needed. In addition we have an RJ Hub Data Coordinator, Jayeti Newbold, who assists hubs in data tracking and evaluation and getting started with program evaluation.

Who can we call to get more information about creating a community restorative justice hub?

Please reach out to Joshua Brooks at

What is the Leadership Circle?
  • The RJ Hubs are guided by the Leadership Circle, a centralized supportive structure that coordinates existing hubs and ensures the successful launch of new RJ Hubs.  The Leadership Circle is responsible for creating a replicable RJ Hub model, developing a manual and orientation guide, supporting a Learning Community, providing comprehensive training on trauma, Restorative Justice and peace circles, and establishing a documentation system that evaluates intervention and service provision throughout the RJ Hubs.
  • The Restorative Justice Hub Leadership Circle will work to:
    • Provide training and guidance to new and existing RJ Hubs
    • Create, establish, and document best RJ Hub practices in an effort to create a replicable model of RJ Hubs.
    • Create a manual and orientation for community agencies hoping to start their own RJ Hubs
    • Create a community of learning between RJ Hubs
    • Establish a documentation system that captures the core components of RJ intervention and service provision within each RJ Hub
    • Provide benchmarks, feedback and training to all RJ Hub participants

Who currently makes up the Leadership Circle?

The lead organizations and key personnel responsible for developing and administering the RJ Hubs through the Leadership Circle are:

  • Matt DeMateo, Executive Director, Urban Life Skills
  • Elena Quintana, Executive Director, Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ)
  • Cheryl Graves, Co-Director, Community Justice for Youth Institute (CJYI)
  • Father David Kelly, Executive Director; Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR)
  • Jayeti Newbold, Community Data Manager, IPSSJ
  • Darnell Shields, Executive Director, Austin Coming Together (ACT)
  • Andrew Born, Director of Programs and Development, Austin Coming Together (ACT)
  • Emmanuel Andre, Executive Director, Circles and Ciphers
  • Carmen Casas, David Lynch Foundation
  • Michelle Day, Program Administrator for the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Resource Section of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Circuit Court of Cook
  • Lori Crowder, Executive Director, Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO)
  • Jorge Matos, Director, Alliance of Local Service Organizations (ALSO)
  • Autry Phillips, Executive Director, Target Area DevCorp
  • Steven Perkins, Target Area DevCorp
  • Jawanza Brian Malone, Executive Director, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO)
  • Joshua Brooks, RJ Hub Coordinator

When do Circle Trainings take place?

Circle training opportunities at CJYI are posted on their website:

Evaluation & Data Tracking


The RJ Hubs use a participatory evaluation model that places as much emphasis on establishing sound organizational structures and processes as youth outcomes. In community-based settings, it is crucial that there is strong buy-in and readiness to implement programs in order to ensure positive outcomes. Thus, the Leadership Circle will work with each site to ensure that outreach, collaboration, and implementation happens in a consistent manner. In addition, numerous outcomes related to restorative justice practices will be measured.

Implementation Fidelity

Although restorative processes are by nature dynamic, it is important that there is some consistency and fidelity to the model outlined in the grant. Thus, regular reviews will be conducted to determine whether referrals were handled in a consistent manner by type.

Program Outputs

The Leadership Circle will ensure that each site tracks the number of youth referred, the number of referrals served, basic demographics of these individuals, contact hours spent with the youth, accompaniment with the youth, restorative justice peace circle hours spent with the youth, and any youth leadership opportunities.

Youth Outcomes

This represents the most important evaluation metric, as it provides evidence of effective practice. The Leadership Circle will help each site collect data on the following outcomes:

  • Participant satisfaction
  • Positive changes in youth risky behavior and attitudes toward violence
  • Positive pro-social development, including increased empowerment and social support resources

Site Collaboration Outcomes

Finally, the Leadership Circle will collect regular survey data to determine the degree to which all organizational partners are collaborating effectively. This survey will measure the degree to which all parties report success with referrals, implementation, shared values, shared commitment, and satisfaction with the collaboration process.