The Future of Community Justice

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The Future of Community Justice

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Title: The Future of Community Justice
Author: Lanni, Adriaan M.
Citation: Adriaan Lanni, The Future of Community Justice, 40 Harvard C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 359 (2005).
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Abstract: In recent years, a series of crime control practices known collectively as community justice have reintroduced rehabilitation and discretion to control certain minor crimes. This parallel system for approaching minor crime has flourished, even as the mainstream criminal system faces a crisis of legitimacy. This Article examines whether we can apply aspects of the community justice movement to improve the processing of serious crime in the mainstream criminal system. It assesses current community justice practices—community prosecution, community courts, sentencing circles, and citizen reparative boards—and finds that they have structural and procedural defects that should bar their use for serious crime. However, the chief innovation of the community justice movement—localized, popular decision-making—would alleviate many of the problems facing the criminal justice system. The Article argues that it may be possible to implement the goals of community justice while avoiding the defects of the current reform initiatives by restructuring the grand jury procedure and permitting local communities to sentence offenders.
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