Institutionalizing Restorative Justice in Chicago Public Schools

Project: Research project

Project Details


Research demonstrates that dominant, more punitive school models of discipline lack efficacy and have disproportionate consequences for students of color, boys, and students with disabilities. Restorative Justice Practice (RJP) is an alternative mode of addressing conflict and discipline within schools that, by design, can promote socio-emotional learning, a positive school climate, and ultimately equity within schools. However, the long-term promise of RJP is undermined by the challenges of implementing the intervention in a sustainable way—i.e., in a way that lives on beyond initial inducements, such as incentives to adopt the intervention, advocacy, and special trainings in how to enact it. Without a more sustainable implementation, scholars and pundits argue that adoption of RJP is incomplete: old, punitive approaches are not fully extinguished or they seep back into newer ostensibly restorative ones. We address this problem of understanding how to realize the benefits of school-based RJP through the organizational sciences lens of institutionalization. We ask, how does RJP become institutionalized in qualitatively different forms and to quantitatively different degrees a.) into structures, practices, and meanings in schools; b.) at different levels, and c.) in ways that are self-activating?
Effective start/end date9/1/1712/31/19


  • Spencer Foundation (Grant #201800035)


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