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Beyond Community Policing: Community Justice

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1997
2 pages
Like community policing, "community justice" views the issues of crime and disorder in a broader context and aims to find a solution that leaves the community stronger and better able to deal with problems in the future.
"Community justice" differs from the traditional model on both the process and the desired outcome. The process emphasizes the full involvement of the key parties (victim and offender) and understanding of the underlying issues and effects of the crime. This addresses the history of conflict that is sometimes evident and relevant, but is excluded from official court processes as inadmissible. It also allows the victim to get answers to questions, express outrage, explain the impact of the crime, and work out the details of the restitution agreement. Community justice connects the offender and the sanction to the crime, requiring the criminal to right the wrong. Community justice is not appropriate for all cases, but it does offer a better way to deal with many cases while finding constructive roles for community and justice agencies. The role of police officials is to influence the court and corrections systems to develop less formal and more victim-friendly practices. An effort that fits the model of community justice is victim-offender mediation. Victim-offender mediation programs offered by police departments in Harrisburg, Pa., and New Zealand are briefly described.

Date Published: January 1, 1997