The Justice Institute

The Justice Conference is expanding deeper and wider to holistically speak to the issue of mass incarceration and criminal justice at our Chicago Justice Institute. We believe that our society has shaped our views of criminal justice and incarceration more than the Scriptures clear commands to treat every incarcerated person with dignity (Hebrews 13:3, Matthew 25). Join us as we discuss a theologically faithful, practically empowering, and truly dignifying approach to the issue of criminal justice. Save the date and join us for this important event as we chase justice together!

Criminal Justice System
Justice Institute CHICAGO || SEPT 21-22 2018

Justice Institute CHICAGO || Speakers

The speakers for this year’s Justice Institute CHICAGO will be speaking on the Criminal Justice System.

Dominique Dubois Gilliard

Director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation

Dominique DuBois Gilliard is the director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Love Mercy Do Justice (LMDJ) initiative of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). He is the author of Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores. He also serves on the board of directors for the Christian Community Development Association and Evangelicals for Justice. In 2015, he was selected as one of the ECC’s “40 Under 40” leaders to watch, and Huffington Post named him one of the “Black Christian Leaders Changing the World.”
An ordained minister, Gilliard has served in pastoral ministry in Atlanta, Chicago, and Oakland. He earned a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and History from Georgia State University and a master’s degree in History from East Tennessee State University, with an emphasis on race, gender, and class in the United States. Dominique earned a Master of Divinity degree from North Park Seminary, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor.

Jon Kelly

Justice Advocacy at Prison Fellowship

Pastor Jon was born in Chicago and raised in Philadelphia Pa. Growing up, he spent most of his teens in and out of juvenile detention centers and tried not to get killed in the streets. At the age of 19 he found himself in prison for his role in a shooting that left a young man dead. It was in his prison cell that he received a copy of God's Word and began reading. After reading from Matthew to Hebrews, Jon's eyes were opened. He was immediately gripped by his sin and his need for salvation in Christ. He gave his life to Christ in his prison cell.

Expecting to spend the rest of his life in prison, Jon was shown mercy and received a 6-20 year sentence. After serving 6 years, Jon was released and began attending Christian Stronghold Baptist Church in West Philadelphia. It was there that he met his wife and best friend, Danielle, while serving in youth ministry. In 2011 Jon moved to Chicago to attend Moody Bible Institute where he studied Systematic Theology. He served as a Family Pastor at Harvest Bible Chapel in downtown Chicago prior to becoming the Lead Pastor of Chicago West Bible Church. Currently, Pastor Jon is earning his Masters Degree in Biblical Studies at Wheaton Grad School. He also serves with Prison Fellowship in the role of Justice Advocacy and speaks nationally for their Speakers Bureau. He loves spending time with his wife Danielle and his two sons, Benjamin and Judah.

Amy Williams

Youth ministry veteran and certified Gang Intervention Specialist

AMY “Hope Dealer” WILLIAMS, a 23-year youth ministry veteran and cerfied Gang Intervenon Specialist, follows her passion to minister to teens involved in gangs, youth on probaon/parole and those lost in the criminal jusce system. She is an advisory board member of the Naonal Instute for Juvenile Jusce Ministries (IJJM) and a steering commi;ee member for the CCDA Mass Incarceraon Task Force. She is currently organizing and leading the North Park Seminary Juvenile Jusce Co-hort and is on the North Park University Center for Youth Ministries Studies (CYMS) Advisory Board. Amy is a naonal speaker and a trainer for Urban Youth Workers Instute, CCDA (Chrisan Community Development Associaon), DeVos Urban Leadership Iniave, and a former Youth Speciales Naonal Team trainer.

Susan Shah

Advisory Council Member of the Mindful Justice Initiative

Susan Shah, JD, MPH has dedicated her career to improving the lives of those who are vulnerable and marginalized by laws, policies, and inadequate services. As director of programs and strategy at Vera, she oversees programmatic initiatives that are driving change in the juvenile, criminal, and immigration systems. She also incubates and fundraises for new initiatives that advance Vera's strategic direction and harness new opportunities to tackle the most pressing injustices of our time. A member of Vera's leadership team, Susan acts as a liaison to Vera’s executive director to problem solve and review project concepts and ideas for investment. Prior to assuming this role, she served as chief of staff and led programmatic and institute-wide strategic planning. From 2011-2015, Susan was a program director in Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice, where she guided police, justice officials, and lawyers in improving immigrants’ access to justice and safety and coached law enforcement on how to successfully overcome language barriers. Previously, she directed Vera’s Unaccompanied Children Program, which provides legal assistance to unaccompanied immigrant children who are facing deportation. Prior to joining Vera in 2006, Susan directed a health prevention education, research, and training program for New York City’s immigrant communities at the Center for Immigrant Health and was an associate in the immigration practice group of Bryan Cave LLP. In 2015, she was selected for the inaugural Immigrant Women Leaders Fellowship of the New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. Susan is a board member of Groundswell, which engages youth in public art-making to advance social change and is an advisory council member of the Mindful Justice Initiative. Susan earned her JD from Northeastern University School of Law, an MPH from Tufts University, and a BA in journalism from Drake University.

Heather Garretson

Criminal Justice Reform

Heather Garretson is dedicated to criminal justice reform. Heather’s professional and faith background give her a unique perspective on the criminal justice system and its impact on our communities. As a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s office, Heather prosecuted federal narcotics cases and argued before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Following her work with the U.S. Attorney’s office, Heather practiced white-collar criminal defense before becoming a law professor. Heather now leads the ACLU of Michigan’s Smart Justice Campaign, which is committed to cutting incarceration in half and to ending racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.
In her nationwide talks and various writings, Heather examines Christian grace, the criminal justice system, and how the two can work together to create justice for our communities.


8:30 AM
10:00 AM
General Session 1
11:30 AM
Boxed Lunch
1:00 PM
5:00 PM
Dinner on Your Own
7:00 PM
An Evening of Arts & Justice featuring special guest performances
10:00 AM
General Session 2
11:30 AM
Boxed Lunch
1:00 PM
3:30 PM
Closing Session

An Evening of The Arts & Justice

Join us for a night celebrating the Arts and Justice including spoken word, music and special guest performances. All are welcome to attend. Tickets are $15.00. Student/ Faculty price is $8.50 (Please have your Student/Faculty ID with you when you check-in at registration). Want to attend for free? Register to attend The JUSTICE Institute in Chicago.

Travel Information


North Park University, 3225 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

Time & Date:

Friday, Sep 21, 2018 10:00 AM – 9:30 PM EDT (doors open at 8:30 AM)
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM EDT (doors open at 8:30 AM)

Hotel & Travel:

Chicago Hotel Versey – 644 W Diversey Pkwy Chicago, IL 60614

Click Here for Room Block

Boutique Chicago Hotel Versey is located just .4 miles from the brown line, which can get you to North Park University in 30-40 minutes. To be included in the “Justice Institute Room Block” call and reference this name or click this link to book your room. Rooms are limited and are on a first come, first served basis for 9/20/18 – 9/23/18. Rooms must be booked prior to 8/22/18.

Aloft Chicago O’Hare – 9700 Balmoral Avenue Rosemont, IL 60018

Click Here for Room Block

Aloft is located minutes away from O’Hare is located 9.4 miles (25 minute drive) North Park University. Call hotel for parking rates. To be included in the “Justice Institute Room Block” call and reference this name or click this link to book your room. Rooms are limited and are on a first come, first served basis for 9/20/18 – 9/22/18. Rooms must be booked prior to 9/6/18.

Other Chicago Hotel Options: There are very few hotels close to North Park University. We negotiated rates at a couple of hotels in two different areas, but you may find other hotels that meet your needs. You may be able to book an individual reservation at a hotel that is closer or cheaper on your own. Utilize your favorite hotel search engine to find other hotel options close to North Park University.