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Welcome to the Collaborative Justice Resource Center

The Importance of Collaboration in Criminal and Juvenile Justice

Professionals working in criminal justice are increasingly confronted with myriad complex problems. Solutions to issues such as domestic violence, the pervasive drug problem, jail and prison crowding, and prisoner reentry place significant demands on the court system and other criminal justice agencies.

Increasingly, nontraditional collaborations and partnerships are emerging as an effective strategy to address the considerable problems confronting criminal justice practitioners. Whether drug court judge, sheriff, jail administrator, parole board member, treatment professional, supervision officer, community advocate, or law enforcement officer, we seek the same end: a safe community, and a justice system that promotes and supports that goal.

Now, more than ever, it is clear that no single entity can address these problems independently. In addition to building alliances within one’s own field, it is critical to forge effective collaborative relationships with other public and private agencies, and the community members our system of justice is designed to serve.

Collaborative Relationships Do Not Come Easily

Although many agree that more effective justice can result from partnerships with others, few know how to engage fully in these relationships and maintain them over time. The criminal justice system is, by its very nature, non–collaborative. Achieving justice through an adversarial process is one of its fundamental hallmarks, but not without consequence. Criminal justice agencies often compete for the same funds in a resource–poor environment. The system is composed of elected, appointed, and selected leaders that can create disharmonious degrees of control and authority. Agencies with overlapping—and sometimes contrary—purposes confound these matters further.

Achieving Effective Collaborative Relationships is Possible

Empirical research and experience from jurisdictions across the country offer important and practical information to those interested in building long–lasting, sustainable collaborative efforts in their communities.

This Web site is designed to provide the information, tools, and resources needed to establish, enhance, and sustain effective long–term collaborative partnerships among policymakers and other key stakeholders in your community.

Given the importance of collaboration to the success of community corrections agencies, this Web site also offers a special section designed specifically for those community corrections professionals who are interested in building more effective partnerships.