Source: (2001) Issues of Democracy 6(1).

In Deschutes County and a few other jurisdictions across the United States, a group of judicial officials has teamed up with local elected officials, legislative representatives, and private citizens to acknowledge the criminal justice system's failures and build a better system of criminal justice that has been called "community justice." Within a community justice framework, the victim is regarded as the paramount "customer" of the justice system, offenders are held accountable in constructive ways, and crime prevention is viewed as a high priority. Citizen participation in attending to victim needs, determining priorities, mediating restitution requirements, and supervising community service projects is central in a community justice approach. Deschutes County has taken several steps to demonstrate their seriousness in developing a new vision for the justice system. Following a series of meetings convened by Presiding Circuit Court Judge Stephen Tiktin regarding the need for the local justice system to elevate victim services and crime prevention, the county constructed an official resolution to respond to the group's leadership. This resolution in turn spurred a series of actions that quickly moved the system toward a community justice model. Since adoption of the resolution, the County District Attorney's Office has developed a full complement of victim services. The circuit court has developed a complete range of opportunities for victims to be directly involved in the justice process. The Community Justice Department is converting positions that once focused on offender counseling to positions that emphasize victim support and counseling. The department continues to manage and supervise the offender's behavior, but the primary context of the supervision pertains to the offender's responsibility to restore the victim and pay restitution. Accountability, not counseling, has become the highest priority of the offender's supervision.