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Toward an Approach to Community Corrections for the 21st Century: Consensus Document

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2017
10 pages
This paper presents the consensus of members of the Executive Session on Community Corrections regarding the features of community corrections as a system within a broader democratic system of government.
Members of the Executive Session on Community Corrections have come together over the past 3 years to develop a new paradigm for correctional policy at a historic time for criminal justice reform. The current report presents the strong consensus of the members regarding principles and practices that should guide the reform of community corrections going forward. The motivating concept is as follows: "America's community corrections systems must reflect and embody the normative values of the wider democracy in which they reside." Following this statement, the report presents a basic vision of the values that should guide community corrections. First, the fundamental mission of community corrections and the broader system of criminal justice is the well-being and safety of American communities. Second, the capacity to arrest, discipline, and incarcerate is an awesome state power that is legitimately used to promote public safety, accountability for violations of the law, and justice for all those affected, directly or indirectly, by crime. Third, community corrections agents must recognize the worth of justice-involved individuals, such that they should be helped to repair harms caused by their crime and develop responsible behaviors and values that serve their communities. Fourth, community corrections agencies must be pillars of the rule of law, respecting the human dignity of people under supervision and treating them as citizens in a democratic society. Finally, the members' collective aspiration for community corrections is to help people to have a more positive influence on the lives of others than when they entered the penal system.