Peace-Circles” to Fight Crime in Chicago

By: John Semmens

Convinced that police, prosecutors, and prisons are inhumane methods for combating crime, Chicago is trying a “peace-circle” approach. Local advocate for the idea Howard Zehr contends that “bringing victims and perpetrators face-to-face can achieve restorative justice because it allows the participants in the original so-called crime to meet again and make their apologies. This inspires a healing process that will do more to discourage future harmful interactions than simply locking up the assumed offender.”

After he was caught in possession of an illegal gun, prosecutors wanted Ojani Cruz to be held in jail, but a judge let him out on his own recognizance and he was later sent to a peace-circle where his arrest record was expunged. A month later Cruz emptied his gun trying to kill a woman, but only paralyzed her for life by severing her spinal cord.

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans unapologetically defended the lax treatment Cruz received, saying “people who hurt other people have generally been hurt themselves. Rather than ruining their lives by sending them to prison we need to let them be free to work out their inner demons so they can become useful members of society.”

In another example, Klevontaye White was let loose with only an ankle monitor despite being charged with 15 counts of aggravated sexual assault with a firearm. He cut off his ankle monitor, initiated a shootout with police and was killed. Newsweek magazine added Mr. White to its list of black people killed by police.

Meanwhile, Chicago schools are removing police from their sites. According to a spokesman speaking off-the-record “police communicate a punitive approach to keeping order. An alternative under consideration is to designate each school as the ‘turf’ of the locally dominant youth gang. Free of police interference there will be less cause for violent confrontations. Since they will not be hassled while selling recreational drugs to students we won’t have to pay them a salary like we did with the regular police who were here. As it was, the regular police could not be counted on to respond to violent incidents in the school. Potential Uvalde-type mass shootings will be repelled by gangs defending their turf.”

In other school news, Michigan, Attorney General Dana Nessel touted “drag queen story hour for both its educational and pacifying potential. In my view drag queens make everything better. These gentle souls bring smiles to the faces of the children. Smiles turneth away wrath. The positive role models exhibited can be an inspiration for the children going forward as they decide which sex they want to be and what careers they may like to pursue later in life.”

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