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Justice in the Community in The Netherlands: Evaluation and Discussion

Terpstra, Jan
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Criminal Justice. 4(4): 375- 393.

In an attempt to find answers to the growing crime and nuisance in multi-problem urban areas, the Dutch Government introduced pilot projects in four cities in 1997 referred to as “Justice in the Community” (JiC) projects. The Ministry of Justice in 1999 stated that the goal of the JiC was the “promotion of ‘objective and subjective safety’ in urban neighborhoods.” The program works by uniting criminal justice and other organizations in the fight against urban crime problems and by increasing the visibility of the Public Prosecution within the community. There are three main types of JiC’s: settlement of criminal cases, prevention and extra-judicial activities, and contribution to local policy networks. Generally, the JiC scheme creates rapid interventions and settlements of criminal cases by employing the use of integrated and extra-judicial responses to crime and by employing a range of mediation programs. The JiC scheme also incorporates the victims of crimes as integral members of the criminal justice process. Despite the lofty goals of JiC, the evaluation results did not illustrate that the JiC programs resulted in higher levels of “objective and subjective safety” within the neighborhoods where they were employed. Despite the shortcomings of the JiC scheme in terms of levels of safety, the scheme has shown success in forging partnerships and legitimizing information sharing among agencies. It will be instructive to see how the JiC expands its use of the instruments of criminal justice for the sake of effectiveness without the express legal authority to do so. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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