Community Justice Collaborative
The Community Justice Collaborative (CJC) is a new subgroup, as of 2018, within the Center for Human Environments. The purpose of the CJC is to incubate initiatives that seek to transform the justice system through partnerships between communities and public agencies. The goal is to create bodies of knowledge about these initiatives that result in scholarship and public facing dissemination about novel justice/community alliances. CJC’s work leverages the New York City Department of Probation’s (DoP) reimagined philosophy and practice of probation supervision, seeking solutions within communities with concentrated needs, and addressing the complex problems they experience through restorative practices. DoP's novel methods bring community resources and probation functions together. Neighborhood reporting sites weave probation supervision with support services within communities, and people with histories of justice involvement serve as credible messengers. Credible messengers act as transformative peer mentors for neighbors who encounter criminal justice agencies.
We recognize the importance of capturing the unique social and political circumstances that have enabled progress towards the restorative practices evident in New York City and other jurisdictions pursuing similar system transformation. We seek to engage scholars and doctoral students from Social Welfare, Critical Psychology, Urban Education, and Sociology in these efforts and to help build the next generation of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners committed to justice reform.
Funding for CJC initiatives will come from the New York City Department of Probation and others as funding opportunities emerge. CJC will initially support a participatory action research project engaging credible messengers and justice-involved youth to develop a customized interactive journaling group intervention that reflects the lives of the youth served. Subsequent research will include development of a method for tracking community/system partnerships across the US that utilize credible messengers for community corrections functions to determine what organizational and community features interrupt or produce successful partnerships. For a decade, The Animation Project has used digital arts technology to promote social and emotional youth development through the creation of animated short videos. We envision utilizing these videos for a video ethnographic study of emotional coping and impulse control of young people from communities with concentrated needs. Through DOP, CJC will also support the Credible Messenger Center and programs offered through neighborhood-based reporting sites.