Community Panels for Youth Program Overview

In 1997, two long-time child law attorneys on the faculty of Northwestern University School of Law Children and Family Justice Center, developed Community Panels for Youth. It was the first juvenile court diversion program in Chicago grounded in the principles and practices of Restorative Justice. This video, filmed in 2002 provides an overview of the programs structure shared by members of the panel and participants. For more information on CPY please visit

00:04Copy video clip URL Musical montage opening of children and youth playing outside at different locations.

00:46Copy video clip URL Title card over montage footage, “Community Panels for Youth: A Community Alternative to Juvenile Court” 

01:03Copy video clip URL Jonathan Peck introduces Community Panels for Youth (CPY) by saying “Instead of the traditional ways of locking up kids, sweeping people off the street we’re creating a process where neighborhood residents, organizations, activists, can come together and think in a proactive way on how to solve these issues.” 

01:20Copy video clip URL Mary Scott Boria shares that her brother died in prison as a former juvenile offender. John Hannah argues that if there had been a community panel instead of the court system, Boria’s brother may have lived. 

02:11Copy video clip URL Erasmo Martinez, a youth participant in CPY, shares his history with crime as a teenager. Cheryl Graves, director of CPY, explains the traditional route of juvenile court versus a panel hearing based on restorative justice practice. 

02:59Copy video clip URL Snippet of a panel hearing. 

03:20Copy video clip URL Plashan Waits-McCune, trainer and panel director, explains the importance of CPY. 

04:09Copy video clip URL Graves explains that CPY is based on a balanced and restorative justice model, saying “Restorative justice is really a fundamental change in the way the restorative justice system works because now it’s not just simply considering what crimes were committed and what punishment should be given, it’s really about how we repair the harm done, restore people in terms of relationships, [and] in terms of community building.”

05:22Copy video clip URL CPY member explains the structure of the panel which involves the community, the youth, and the victim to determine what should happen to the minor that committed the defense. Interspersed with clips from a workshop with the community on CPY. 

06:11Copy video clip URL “Who is eligible for CPY?” explanation on how the young people who participant in the program are referred by the state’s attorneys office.  Sister Marion Murphy, advisory board member, shares the collaborative effort of CPY.

07:30Copy video clip URL Community workshop on CPY, where members of CPY present the structure of the program. Bernard McCune and Sandra Campbell-Thompson share information on how contracts are drafted for youth participates in CPY.

08:30Copy video clip URL Dramatization of a panel hearing.

09:05Copy video clip URL Panel members explain the complexities involved in the restorative justice process. 

10:05Copy video clip URL Ellen Garza, Peck, and Wendy Chisholm explain the role of the Monitoring Panelist, whose job is to take charge of the case and work as a mentor with the youth throughout the contract period. 

13:35Copy video clip URL Garza and other panel members share the importance of having the victim of the crime be involved in the panel process, followed by a dramatization of a panel hearing. 

16:27Copy video clip URL Peck states that “CPY isn’t just about the contract of service, it’s really a vehicle for addressing community issues.” 

18:59Copy video clip URL Credits 





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