Our project is founded on the recognition of the fundamental failures of the U.S. legal system

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The Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois (TJLP) is a collective of radical lawyers, social workers, activists, and community organizers who are deeply committed to prison abolition, transformative justice, and gender self-determination.


Prison abolition is a movement to create lasting alternatives to punishment-based institutions such as prisons, jails, juvenile, immigrant, and military detention centers. Prison abolition exposes the racism and institutionalized oppression inherent to the prison system and challenges the ideological “need” for prisons. Instead of consenting to this false and fear-based need for prisons, we as abolitionists invest our energy in community empowerment, community- led education, radical activism, transformative justice and liberation as necessary alternatives to the prison system.


Self-determination refers to the right of individuals and communities to have full power over

our own lives. In Illinois, we live under complex legal, medical, social and state systems that restrict gender expression and privilege some genders over others. Gender self-determination necessarily includes access to and control over healthcare, holistic mental and emotional support, fashion and self-expression, gender-affirming housing, education, bathrooms, and social services, freedom from violence, harassment, and incarceration, and all the tools we need to be fabulous, empowered and safe in how we live in our genders. Gender self- determination means having control over our own gender identities, free from limitation.


According to the group generationFIVE, Transformative Justice is: “liberation from violence through a process that would confront state and systemic violence for individual and social justice.” Through community-based movements, Transformative Justice seeks to resist state- run responses to violence (such as the police state and systems of punishment, detention, and incarceration) and instead promotes support, compassion, dialogue and community building. In this way, reliance on violent and oppressive State level systems is transformed and replaced with community empowerment.