About Project NIA

Project NIA’s mission is to dramatically reduce the reliance on arrest, detention, and incarceration for addressing youth crime and to instead promote the use of restorative and transformative practices, a concept that relies on community-based alternatives.

Through community education, participatory action research, advocacy and organizing, Project NIA facilitates the creation of community-focused responses to violence and crime.

Our goals are:

1.       To empower diverse community members to take leadership in addressing issues faced by youth impacted by the juvenile justice system.

2.      To develop effective community-based (rather than criminal legal) means of accountability for violence and crime – using a restorative and transformational justice approach.

Project NIA supports youth in trouble with the law as well as those victimized by violence and crime, through community-based alternatives to the criminal legal process, and we partner with numerous stakeholders to create such alternatives.  We advocate for redirecting resources from youth incarceration to youth opportunities.

Project NIA intervenes directly in the lives of individual youth at-risk and their families while also advocating for systemic changes.  Three overlapping strategies are the foundation for our work.

1.       Leadership Development and Capacity-Building

2.      Advocacy & Organizing

3.      Intervention & Healing

These strategies work together to help us to achieve our mission, which is to transform violence and to ultimately eradicate youth incarceration.

One of the most important aspects of Project NIA’s work is participatory action research and the dissemination of data in order to support our advocacy and organizing efforts.  The Chicago Youth Justice Data Project falls under this category of work for our organization.

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