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Cook County expanding community courts program

Cook County expanding community courts program

  • Updated

CHICAGO (AP) — A community courts program that focuses on nonviolent crime is expanding in Cook County, officials said this week.

The program launched in 2017 in North Lawndale. The expansion will open community courts in Avondale and Englewood this month.

To be eligible, the person charged with a nonviolent felony or nonviolent misdemeanor must be 18 to 26 years old, live in a neighborhood with a community court, have a nonviolent criminal history and accept responsibility for causing harm.

The victim of the crime also must approve and participate in the community court process.

“The whole purpose of the repair-harm agreement is to prevent a defendant from hurting a victim again, but also to stop the conduct and help that defendant realize what the consequences of that behavior are,” Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said.

Court officials said defendants in the community court are directed to community service. If a defendant abuses substance, they also must complete a program for that issue.

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