Maya Dimant Lentz

  • Hosted by James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy
  • Sponsored by DLA Piper LLP (US)
  • Service location Evanston, Illinois
  • Law school Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2014
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Break the school to prison pipeline for minority students in Evanston with community-based representation, restorative justice skills-building workshops in schools, and by leveraging local resources for collaborative re-entry support.

Need Addressed By Project

Schools that should be community centers for educating our children are instead becoming gateways to incarceration, portals to a racist and overzealous criminal justice system. This school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately affects the high percentage of minority and low-income children in Evanston. This project will offer innovative solutions based on integrated social work and legal services to create a replicable model for disrupting the cycle.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Maya has:

  • Given more than 60 conflict resolution/know your rights educational sessions to young adults in the community
  • Become a trained mediator and restorative justice circle keeper
  • Represented her own juvenile clients in criminal proceedings, and won multiple felony trials
  • Developed and implemented a restorative justice based elementary school discipline curriculum, and a re-entry based conflict-resolution training toolkit


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