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Future Leaders Apprenticeship Program (FLAP)


The best people to advocate for criminal legal system reform are the people who have been directly impacted by the policies in place. This belief guides our work.


The end of a prison term marks the beginning of a new and often difficult chapter in the life of a returning citizen. For those who return after serving lengthy sentences, barriers to finding employment compound with the unfamiliarity of a world that runs on smartphones, email, and other conventions that people have little to no exposure to while incarcerated.

As one of few organizations in Illinois specifically working to address issues faced by youth serving life or de-facto life sentences, Restore Justice started training and working with formerly incarcerated individuals in its early days, and formally established the Future Leaders Apprenticeship Program (FLAP) in 2019. FLAP provides a small number of returning citizens who have deep commitment to social justice and high potential for impact in the nonprofit sector with a unique opportunity to turn their skills and passions for social good into new, tangible leadership opportunities—supporting advocacy in the criminal legal system and advancing their careers at the same time.


FLAP was established to equip participants with the skills and knowledge necessary to:

Secure employment

and find a full-time job after completion of the program.

Enhance a reconnection to society

through networking and the development of workplace and interpersonal relationships.

Build a sense of empowerment

through the application of new skills.

Cultivate growth

in themselves and their colleagues.

Advocate for policy reform

that supports individuals serving extreme sentences, their families, and their communities.

Program Overview

FLAP is a comprehensive apprenticeship program for formerly incarcerated individuals in Illinois who served lengthy adult sentences (20+ years) they received as youth. Participants all have full-time positions with benefits. They receive a combination of on-the-job training at Restore Justice and related academic instruction to develop and build skills for careers in nonprofit management, advocacy, or other social justice related occupations. This program is designed for individuals to receive real life experiences within the workforce that will prepare them for future employment. Specifically, participants receive the following:

  • Personalized training developed to fit the participant’s career and education goals, as well as individual development.
  • Supervision and management by an experienced leader at Restore Justice.
  • Access to competency and skills-based classes and training.
  • Ongoing developmental feedback and strategic support through one-on-one coaching.
  • Opportunities to shadow other organizations within Restore Justice’s network.
  • Opportunity to develop and complete a project aligned with the participant’s interests and goals.
  • Advice, support, collaboration, and job opportunities from Restore Justice’s network.