Source: (2000) The Howard Journal 39(2): 132-149This article builds on earlier articles by McWilliams and Pease in suggesting that the probation service requires a transcendent justification for its activities. The author supports the need for greater links between prison and probation services in promoting effective practice and public protection but asserts that probation's authority also derives from its understanding of crime in a community context. In developing a community justice framework for the probation service the author discusses three principles: justice, penance, and community, particularly as they might impact on the most marginalised and vulnerable in our inner cities. The case for a community justice dimension to effective practice is further endorsed by a recent Home Office study of the social factors most associated with reconviction. Best outcomes in relation to crime reduction are most likely to be achieved by a bridge-building effort between criminal justice professionals and the involvement of communities most at risk.