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Community Is Not a Place: A New Look at Community Justice Initiatives

McCold, Paul
June 4, 2015

Source: (1997) Paper presented to the International Conference on Justice without Violence: Views from Peacemaking Criminology and Restorative Justice, Albany, New York, 5-7 June 1997.

The authors make the following arguments. Community justice initiatives, such as community policing and restorative justice, have tended to define community rather loosely, if at all. This has led to confusion about and variation in what exactly constitutes a community justice program. Different ways of defining community have significant consequences for these new justice initiatives. Not only do they affect the way in which these approaches are designed and implemented, but they may cause confusion about the underlying values and thwart goals of community justice. The authors therefore argue for the importance of defining exactly what is meant by the term “communityâ€? in community justice initiatives, especially community policing and restorative justice. And they propose a non-geographic perspective on community which can be used to focus and define what community justice initiatives should look like and what they should be trying to achieve.


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