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Understanding Community Justice Partnerships: Assessing the Capacity To Partner

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2002
172 pages
This report synthesizes knowledge obtained from a literature review and consultation with other researchers and practitioners about factors that may affect a community's ability to organize, mobilize, and build capacity to serve as an active partner with criminal justice agencies in preventing and countering crime.
The core of the report is the development of a conceptual framework designed to improve understanding of community justice partnership processes. The components of the framework include member characteristics that influence partnership characteristics; partnership characteristics or dimensions that are related to outcomes; goals, problem domains, and objectives; activities; and outcomes at the community, individual, and family and systems levels. The report first presents the definitions of key ideas and concepts within the partnership framework to clarify the boundaries of each. This is followed by the presentation of a useful typology of organizations, so as to distinguish frontline agencies from funders and the traditional power holders. Using the definitions and the organization typology as a starting point, the report then discusses the role of community organizations and the importance of their involvement in increasing informal social control in the community. The report next examines the characteristics of community organization that are important for the development of the capacity to partner for community justice initiatives. The characteristics of leadership, resources, and orientation were identified as the key in effective organizational participation. The report also discusses dimensions of partnerships that enable useful descriptions of partnership capacity, such as lead agency type, structural complexity, readiness, horizontal and vertical integration, and resources. The report concludes with recommendations for future research. 5 tables, 3 figures, and 234 references

Date Published: May 1, 2002