Community Justice Collaborative

The Community Justice Collaborative (CJC) began as a subgroup within the Center for Human Environments in 2018.  The purpose of the CJC is to incubate initiatives that seek to transform the justice system through partnerships between academia, 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 reimagined criminal justice philosophy and practice and seeks solutions within communities with concentrated needs by addressing the complex problems they experience through restorative practices. These novel methods bring community resources and criminal justice functions together. For example, probation reporting sites weave together supervision with support services within communities, and people with histories of justice involvement serve as credible messengers who 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. As part of the Credible Messenger Justice Center, CJC holds an annual conference that brings together a national and international audience committed to justice reform and convenes events throughout the year that highlight local policy reform initiatives.  In addition, we seek to engage scholars and doctoral students from Social Welfare, Critical Psychology, Urban Education, and Sociology in these efforts to help build the next generation of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners committed to justice reform.

CJC has supported 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.