The Catholic Conference of Illinois on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Illinois and the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago are in support of the proposed Illinois Supreme Court Rule, Restorative Justice Practice and Privilege, Proposal 17-07, P.R. 0246. The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago has drafted the proposed rule to make communications during a restorative justice practice, as well as that a restorative justice practice was convened, privileged information, thus becoming inadmissible in a court or tribunal. The rule also sets out circumstances when the privilege can be waived, which are modeled after the established attorney-client privilege.
Restorative justice practices respect and promote the human dignity of those involved, as it provides support to communities who have been harmed, helps reduce recidivism, and promotes rehabilitation of those who have committed crimes or are involved in other conflicts in their communities.
It is important that these communications in restorative justice practices remain confidential, except in specific situations. For many, their participation in restorative justice requires that what they share will not be used against them in any potential future civil or criminal proceedings. The premise of restorative justice requires trust and honesty among all those involved.
Fr. David Kelly of Precious Blood Ministry within the Archdiocese of Chicago has led efforts to support Restorative Justice Hubs as a community-led approach to youth crime and conflict in various Chicago neighborhoods. Refer to additional information about the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation on the website (www.pbmr.org).
The proposed rule will help support and strengthen the use of restorative justice to the benefit of the common good, especially for those communities seeking local remedies to conflicts.