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Community Justice: A Conceptual Framework

NCJ Number
Date Published
46 pages
"Community justice" broadly refers to all variants of crime prevention and justice activities that explicitly include the community in their processes and set the enhancement of community quality of life as a goal; this chapter discusses the assumptions, aims, and difficulties of community justice.

Recent initiatives in community justice include community crime prevention, community policing, community defense, community prosecution, community courts, and restorative justice sanctioning systems. These approaches share a common core, in that they address community-level outcomes by focusing on short-term and long-term problem solving, restoring victims and communities, strengthening normative standards, and effectively reintegrating offenders. This chapter begins with a discussion of the broadest purpose of the model, the "community justice ideal," and describes recent innovations in policing, adjudication, and corrections. It then describes five core elements of community justice that distinguish it from traditional criminal justice practices. In "Principles of Community Justice," the authors outline the philosophy of community justice by describing seven basic principles and how they are illustrated in some recent initiatives. In "An Integrity Model of Community Justice," the chapter defines the processes and outcomes of the community justice model. This is described as an "integrity model," because it provides a yardstick by which particular initiatives can be evaluated. The concluding section of the chapter outlines some current challenges to the implementation of community justice initiatives. These include questions about individual rights and due process, the limits of community control, community mobilization and representation, and funding for new practices. 75 references

Date Published: January 1, 2000