Enacted: Jan 2000
Community justice is a strategic method of crime reduction and prevention, which builds or enhances partnerships within communities. Community justice policies confront crime and delinquency through proactive, problem-solving practices aimed at prevention, control, reduction and reparation of the harm crime has caused. The goal is to create and maintain vital, healthy, safe and just communities and improve the quality of life for all citizens.
APPA believes that, at times, traditional criminal and juvenile justice policies and practices have not been able to attain genuine peace and safety and may have alienated and ignored citizens and victims. Community justice principles of crime prevention plus victim and community reparation offer greater hope of securing genuine peace and justice and of gaining community satisfaction with its justice system.
APPA therefore resolves that the principles of community justice will guide the work of the organization in keeping with its proclaimed motto of "Community Justice and Safety for All." The vision of APPA is a community justice vision. This vision will guide the organization in promoting adult and juvenile probation and parole policies and practices that are grounded in community justice principles and values.
Principles of Community Justice
The community is the nexus of community justice; therefore, each individual community must ultimately define the concept and practice of community justice. The work must nonetheless remain true to an ideal as expressed by the following guiding principles:
- The community, including individual victims and offenders, is the ultimate customer, as well as partner of the justice system.
- Partnerships for action, among justice components and citizens, strive for community safety and well being.
- The community is the preferred source of problem solving and citizens work to prevent victimization, provide conflict resolution and maintain peace.
- Crime is confronted by addressing social disorder, criminal activities and behavior, and by holding offenders accountable for the harm they cause to victims and the community.
The justice system benefits the community by:
- striving to repair the harm caused by crime to individual victims and communities;
- working to prevent crime and its harmful effects;
doing justice by addressing problems rather than merely processing cases; and
- promoting community protection through proactive, problem-solving work practices plus interventions aimed at changing criminal behavior and delinquent behavior.
These efforts help to create and maintain vital, healthy, safe and just communities where crime and delinquency cannot flourish.
The Relationship Between Community Justice and Restorative Justice
Community justice and restorative justice often are used as synonymous terms. While the terms are complementary, they are not interchangeable. Community justice is a strategic method to control and reduce crime and therefore impacts the system in which we work. Restorative justice is a process of responding to criminal acts and impacts how we do our work. In other words, community justice seeks to transform the justice system to one that is inclusive and works in partnership with the community in order to impact the community environment. Restorative justice practices promote healing, reparation and reconciliation of all parties harmed by criminal acts. The desired results are peaceful, harmonious and just relationships among individual victims, offenders and their communities. Positive human relationships contribute to a positive community environment. Restorative justice is therefore crucial to the success of a community justice strategy.
Community Justice Strategy
A comprehensive community justice strategy:
- includes restorative justice practices and processes;
- includes both adult and juvenile offenders;
- focuses on creating safer communities rather than on doing things to or for offenders;
- pursues the goal of public safety within a scope of preventing victimization;
- places a high priority on the rights and needs of victims and the community;
- seeks harmonious working relations among all justice components and practices, citizens, community and social service organizations, educational systems, and faith communities;
- focuses on problems causing as well as caused by crime; and
- promotes correctional programming that is based on sound research and measurable for effectiveness.