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Community Justice

An initiative to build ties between communities and the criminal justice system in order to prevent crime, repair harm and build communities.

Justice takes to the streets of LA
from the article by Mike Feuer in Los Angeles Times: Since charter reform paved the way for neighborhood councils, Los Angeles has made steady progress toward a more neighborhood-centered government. But up to now, that hasn't included neighborhood-centered justice.
New Peacemaking Court will help ease relationship conflicts
from the article in Oakland County Legal News: A dream has come true for Washtenaw County Trial Court Judge Timothy Connors who will oversee a new Peacemaking Court thanks to a yearlong grant from the state’s Court Performance Innovation Fund. “This is an alternative—a way of thinking, a way of talking, a way of acting that in my opinion has great validity toward achieving justice,” said Connors, who has already begun to oversee the new court.
Review: The legacy of community justice
Reviewed by Dan Van Ness There are really two subjects of this collection of articles: One is community justice, which continues to exert influence in the juvenile and criminal justice fields. The second, and perhaps more important one, is Dennis (Denny) Maloney. Denny was an influential, charismatic, larger than life leader in the restorative and community justice movement until his untimely death in 2007.
A visionary judge makes restorative justice come alive in Alabama
from Ken Kimsey's entry on Fairness Works: In a six-part video series, Judge McCooey talks passionately about her believe that justice requires much more than the court system provides, especially in the area of giving crime victims the opportunity to meet the offenders, face-to-face, in a safe place, and to do so on a voluntary basis. (If you walk out of here and find someone has stolen your car radio, chances are you don’t have much interest in meeting the thief, she says in one segment. But the more deeply you have been hurt, the more likely you want to meet the offender and ask questions like “why?”.) As appealing as her speaking style and warmth is her story about the unorthodox path that led her to the bench. Serving as a judge was never in her long-range plans, but when she won her first election against a well-established Montgomery lawyer, surprising herself in the process, she knew there were some new thing she wanted to try. Finding ways of implementing a restorative justice program was among them, and she set about methodically but quietly to make this happen.
Victoria’s Neighbourhood Justice Centre
from the paper prepared by Courts and Tribunals Unit, Department of Justice, Victoria for the Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse: Community Justice Centres are neighbourhood-focused centres that seek to enhance community participation in the justice system, address local problems, and enhance the quality of local community life....Centres often vary in their model and focus but generally share a motivation to address crime and safety concerns locally, by developing effective relationships and links with the local community. Community justice centres challenge traditional methods of the criminal justice system. Rather than focusing on responding to crime after it has occurred, they seek to develop new relationships, both within the justice system and with stakeholders from the wider community, and to trial new and innovative approaches to community safety... A feature common to the various kinds of centres around the world is that they seek to respond in innovative ways to issues that may be otherwise considered negligible in the traditional criminal justice system.
Cardiff given more say in justice
From News Wales (29 April 09): A range of new measures that gives communities more say in the way justice is delivered in their neighbourhoods as well as making local criminal justice agencies more accountable to the people they represent has today been announced by ministers. Cardiff is one of 30 areas across England and Wales pioneering a new package of measures to test a range of initiatives that will deliver justice for all and put people back at the heart of the justice system.
Strang, Heather. The Threat to Restorative Justice Posed by the Merger with Community Justice: A Paradigm Muddle
The debate about restorative justice and community justice that Paul McCold encourages in his article (McCold, 2004, this issue) is an important one in the American context. It is important because it would be unfortunate if the development of restorative justice in the US were circumscribed by the limits of community justice. While community justice has proven a popular idea, and while balanced and restorative justice (BARJ) has managed to incorporate a number of restorative justice concepts into community justice, little attention has been given to producing evidence that community justice or BARJ are effective strategies for crime reduction or enhanced community efficacy. While restorative justice might be criticized on similar grounds, progress continues to be made around the world to test its effectiveness. We need to ensure not only that policymakers understand the differences between restorative justice and these other programs but also that much more effort is put into finding the evidence in both community justice and restorative justice about what works, when, and for whom. Author's abstract.
Kattackal, Rose. Research Framework for a Review of Community Justice in Yukon
This document consists of a research framework for a review of community justice in the Yukon done by Rose Kattackal for Yukon Justice. As Kattackal notes, a diverse range of interests influences community justice. These interests include justice committees, communities, criminal justice personnel, government (aboriginal and federal), non-governmental organizations, and the business community. Meetings were held with most of these stakeholder groups to determine and record their perspectives on community justice in Yukon. Based on these meetings and other research activities, Kattackal presents this paper. The paper covers a number of topics and issues: history and principles of community justice; research method and data; offenses and offenders; community justice approaches to dealing with crime and its effects; analysis of outcomes; management of community justice programs; and structures of community justice programs. To provide concrete information, a number of community justice programs in Yukon are profiled as well.
Malkin, Victoria and Fagan, Jeffery. Problem Solving Courts and Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Theorizing Community Justice Through Community Courts
Jeffrey Fagan and Victoria Malkin write that community justice practitioners hold that the justice system has long ignored its biggest clients: citizens and neighborhoods suffering from the consequences of high crime levels. One response to this lack is 'community justice.' It consists of a set of court innovations and new practices: for example, problem-solving courts (drug courts, mental health courts, domestic violence courts, and the like); the inclusion victims and communities in the sanction process; community policing; and alternative models of dispute resolution. However, community justice goes beyond problem-solving courts to create legal institutions that bring citizens closer to legal processes. Fagan and Malking report on a community court in Brooklyn, New York: the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Through this particular example, they consider sociological perspectives in the development of community justice, a theory of social regulation and control in relation to community justice, and theoretical frameworks of community courts.
Karp, David R. Does Community Justice Work?
Community justice principles of crime prevention, in conjunction with reparations, offer great hopes of securing peace and justice, and rendering community satisfaction. This article attempts to answer whether community justice programs work in effectively achieving their goals. Focusing on Vermont’s Reparative Probation program which combines neighborhood-based programming, citizen involvement, and offender reintegration with restorative justice, the author found that partnerships are often formed between members of the local community and the justice system. Furthermore, crime victims often report having their needs met by community justice programming, and community members indicate that they feel that community justice does work to restore their communities. Only 1.5 percent of the offenders profiled in the example used to address Vermont’s community justice program were re-arrested for violent offenses. Vermont’s strong and successful community justice program suggests that community justice programming needs to remain a high priority for law enforcement officials and lawmakers. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,
Fillichio, Carl. Violence, Victims, and Communities: A Story of Restoration.
In San Francisco, however, a different answer has taken shape. There, the sheriff’s department runs an innovative program called Resolve to Stop the Violence. It is RSVP’s mission to bring together everyone harmed by violent crimes: victims, adult male offenders, and communities. First, it centralizes the needs of victims, many of whom are targets of domestic violence, enabling them to restore themselves and become survivors and advocates. Second, it holds offenders accountable and punishable. But, just as important, it focuses also on changing their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviour on restoration of victims and self, and on equipping them for crime-free lives on the outside. Third, RSVP energizes the community to take part in all of these efforts. RSVP’s in-custody and post-release treatment and education is supported by creative collaboration among local government agencies. It gets active participation from all local stakeholders in reducing violence, fear, and economic and social destabilization of the community. (excerpt)
Karp, David R and Bazemore, Gordon. Community Justice Sanctioning Models: Assessing Program Integrity
"Community justice is taking hold throughout North America and the world. This movement is broadly inclusive of community-based crime prevention programs and community partnerships with various criminal justice agencies including policing, adjudication, and corrections. This chapter examines community justice approaches to sanctioning offenders. Viewed as a whole, the movement toward community justice sanctioning encompasses a wide array of processes, goals, and practical and philosophical rationales. The enthusiasm associated with community involvement in sanctioning as a new response to crime appears to be a result of both crisis and opportunity in the justice system." (excerpt)
Wachtel, Benjamin and McCold, Paul. Community Is Not a Place: A New Look at Community Justice Initiatives
"If community justice is going to have any success, then, it is necessary to take a deeper look at the meaning of community. This paper will discuss the importance of defining exactly what is meant by the term 'community' in community justice initiative, especially community policing and restorative justice. We propose a nongeographic perspective on community, which can be used to focus and define what community justice initiatives should look like and what they should be trying to achieve. This perspective is based on recent developments in restorative justice and community policing, especially the Wagga/Real Justice model of family group conferences which, when used by police, exemplifies and integration of restorative justice and community policing. The implications of this perspective for community justice initiatives in general will be explored." (excerpt)
Hanneman, Evelyn U. An Interview with Dennis Maloney, Director of the Department of Community Justice in Deschutes County, OR
In this article, Evelyn Hanneman reports on her interview with Dennis Maloney, Director of the Deschutes County, Oregon, Department of Community Justice. In the mid 1990s Deschutes County began a transition from a retributive justice system to a restorative justice system. This included changing the name of the Deschutes County Juvenile Department to the Department of Community Justice. As Maloney notes, 'community justice' is more inclusive than 'community corrections.' Community corrections involves the community but remains offender focused. Community justice also involves the community but goes further to elevate the position of the victim and focus on prevention. In the interview, Hanneman highlights Maloney's background in restorative justice, a variety of positive outcomes from restorative justice in Deschutes County, and challenges to this approach to crime.
British Columbia Association for Community Living. Restorative Justice and People with Developmental Disabilities. A Booklet for Restorative Justice Facilitators.
Restorative justice is a philosophy that looks upon crime as a violation of people and relationships rather than the breaking of laws. It recognizes that harms create obligations on the part of the person who harmed to put things right and that people who are most affected by the crime are the key stakeholders in making sure that harms are repaired and that balance and harmony is restored in the community. Community Living, on the other hand, believes that people with developmental disabilities have the right to live in community and have the appropriate supports to enable then to participate and be fully included in schools, workplaces, recreation, and community life. It also realizes that community members play a critical role in an individual’s life in order for true inclusion to be achieved. When one or more of the parties involved in a restorative process is a person with a developmental disability, it is very important that that person is well supported to help him or her express his or her thoughts and feelings as well as understand what is being said. (excerpt)
Small, MA and Tomkins, A. J. Introduction to this issue: International Perspectives on Restorative and Community Justice
According to Alan Tomkins and Mark Small, many legal systems around the world are seeking to accommodate to new perspectives on human behavior and notions of fairness. One example of legal system change has been the attempt to alter structures and practices to better address the overlap of justice and social concerns. The interest in restorative justice and community justice reflects this pursuit. Restorative justice and community justice represent new visions of how justice-related institutions can better address social issues that straddle and cross legal limits. In this framework, Tomkins and Small introduce this special issue of Behavioral Sciences and the Law. It contains seven articles examining different aspects of restorative and community justice. These include, for example, the context of family issues to demonstrate the need for a new paradigm of administering justice; a theoretically integrated model of penal attitudes; the use of apology in criminal proceedings; the involvement of the community in criminal justice; and the possibility of bringing the faith community together with the justice community.
Bazemore, Gordon. Building Community and Nuturing Justice: A Review of the Community Justice Ideal.
Expressing a skepticism about the use of the terms 'community' and 'justice' in that they are often used in imprecise and uncritical ways, Bazemore notes in his review of The Community Justice Ideal (1999) that authors Todd Clear and David Karp avoid such problems. Indeed, they merge the best of restorative and community justice thinking and practice into a coherent vision. With all of this in mind, Bazemore reviews the book The Community Justice Ideal and the community justice movement itself. Topics covered in his review include theoretical and empirical grounding for community justice, community justice and individual freedoms, principles for democratic and egalitarian community justice, and realizing and evaluating community justice.
Sharpe, Susan. Walking the Talk: Developing Ethics Frameworks for the Practice of Restorative Justice.
Restorative justice is widely known and championed for its commitment to core values. Yet even the deepest commitment to those values is not enough—not enough to ensure the quality of an organization’s work, or the long term stability of that organization, or even the survival of restorative justice as an improved way to respond to crime and other kinds of injustice. As important as certain values are to the foundation of restorative justice, they are not necessarily a one-size-fits-all. They need to be tailored to fit, in order to help the organization function well. This document invites you to decide for yourself which values will guide your organization through the particular forest it works in, and suggests ways for you to discern what those values call you to do—in the unique circumstances created by the context of your community,the skills, resources and challenges your agency happens to have, and the aspirations and commitments of the people currently working in it. (Excerpt).
Gilbert, Kara Marie. Youth Voices of Bounty and Opportunity: High School Students' Experiences with Food and Community.
Currently, garden-based research does not include input from young adults about their experiences and perspectives as individuals in garden-based programs, specifically those that address issues of food and community. To address this void, this qualitative research examines youth perspectives and engagement in garden-based community projects in Olympia, Washington, and Medford, Oregon. The sample of 11 students was chosen from these projects that use food as a means to engage the community and educate underprivileged young adults about local food systems. The main question that the research addresses is: Why, and in what ways, are young adults appropriate agents for community revitalizing garden-based projects? Using open-ended interviews, field notes and observations, the research draws upon theories of food access, community development, social and environmental justice, and nontraditional education. The findings suggest that when young adults are involved in garden-based community projects, they are learning life skills, developing leadership, engaging in models of nontraditional education, and retaining perspectives of grass-roots community development. It is evident from the research and emerging themes that young adults desire to accept responsibility in their community. It is time to harness young people’s energy, care, compassion, and dedication so that they can act as ambassadors to dispel the class-based ideologies of the current food systems, empowering under-served communities and celebrating youth’s perspectives on food and place. (Excerpt).
Earls, Felton and Raudenbush, Stephen W and Sampson, Robert J. Neighborhood Collective Efficacy - Does it Help Reduce Violence?
In a major report of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, published in a recent issue of the journal "Science," the researchers found that rates of violence are lower in urban neighborhoods characterized by "collective efficacy." Extending the concept of community cohesion, collective efficacy refers to mutual trust among neighbors combined with willingness to intervene on behalf of the common good, specifically to supervise children and maintain public order. The finding is important because it challenges the prevailing wisdom that crime is the direct result of such factors as poverty, unemployment, the predominance of single-parent households, or the concentration of certain minority groups. These factors do play a role, according to the study. But some Chicago neighborhoods that are largely black and poor have low crime rates. In these neighborhoods, the researchers found that collective efficacy is the most powerful influence keeping violent crime low. (excerpt)

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