Source: (2010) In, Katherine Doolin, et. al, eds., Whose criminal justice? State or community?. Hook, Hampshire: Waterside Press. Pp. 173-185.

In recent years in Britain, as in an increasing number of other countries, the concept and ideology of community has taken on a new prominence in the context of criminal justice, as indeed it has in relation to public services more generally. No doubt to some extent this reflects a certain nostalgia for an illusory golden age and an almost inevitable pendulum swing away from the centralisation that has characterised the past three decades at least in the world of public services, including within the field of justice. As was argued in Chapter 1, in part also, it could be understood as a response to the growing disappointment with the outcomes of those years of increasing centralisation -- and realisation that, for all the well intentioned initiatives to create more effective and efficient public services, and to address the key problems of our time, the difference made in practice was in many instances felt to have been marginal. Crime is an obvious example and for all the reforms, reorganisations and initiatives -- most of which tended to shift more control towards the centre -- the impact in terms of reduced levels of offending and re-offending had been distinctly underwhelming and public confidence in the agencies largely unmoved. (excerpt)