Transformative Community Justice is a broad term with many processes beneath it. For a clear understanding of the topic, it is essential to define the premise of the term one by one. Community can be described as a group of people that have proximity and share certain values. Transformative entails the process of changing from one form to another, and justice entails the act of fairness. Rationality, equity, ethics, law, religion, and natural law govern Justice. Thus, Transformative Community Justice can be described as a method of responding to conflicts. This method is philosophical in nature, and it makes use of some principles of restorative justice. It features as a method that offers individual justice while at the same time liberating everyone. Notably, transformative justice seeks to heal rather than punish, and it is an alternative means of providing justice from the government. It is also essential to note that Transformative Community Justice is aimed at providing solutions for problems faced by the community. Such a problem that the community faces includes child sexual abuse, which is demonized by many quarters including the government, and that is why it fails to provide solutions to the problem. Justice in this case refers to solutions to the problems faced by the community, and prevention of future occurrences of the same problem. Thus, we can deduct that Transformative Community Justice focuses on building people’s capacity, to know how to respond to certain problems faced by the community.
This paper explicates what Transformative Community Justice entails. The three main factors, which include the community, what is to be transformed, and what is justice are discussed.
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The community in Transformative Community Justice refers to the different setups that comprise of a group of people. People who have some form of interaction formed by social ties form a community. According to Bazemore and Schiff (2001), work places also form a community because they comprise of different people that work together. Notably, the community forms a significant part of the Transformative Community Justice because it is where all the processes of the strategy take place. The community is also separate from the state mechanism; thus, forms a conducive environment for Transformative Community Justice. Arguably, modern states, which form a community are characterized by coercion and the exercise of power; thus, the need for Transformative Community Justice.
What is to be transformed?
Various things are to be transformed under the objective of Transformative Community Justice. Firstly, Arrigo, Schehr, and Milovanovic (2005) advance that past crime have to be dealt with. In turn, this will assist in the need to ensure that future occurrences of the crime is minimized or entirely eliminated. The attitude of the community towards perpetrators of crime needs also to be transformed in order to prevent them from feeling alienated. This will help in their correction process. The justice system, which is more, or less the involving of the community and criminals in the transformational process is also imminent. In this case, the justice system is transformed in that it deviates from depending on the government, and centers more attention on the community where the crime has occurred. The community deals directly with the problem.
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Justice under Transformational Community Justice has three objcetives, which are to ensure that the past occurrences of the crime are dealt with, and this is termed as the healing process. Secondly, it is the elimination of violence in dealing with the perpetrators of crime, as this will ensure they are not punished, but their character is transformed. Lastly, Clear and Karp (2002) observe that it is prevention of future occurrences of the same crime, and the community is employed to ensure the success of this campaign. Below, clear definitions of Transformative Community Justice are explicated.
Transformative Community Justice is a strategy to obtain a world that is just. Thus, it can be described as a response that seeks to provide liberation to community, intimate, and interpersonal violence. Leonard and Kenny (2010) indicate that reality depicted on a daily course by violence prevents communities from envisaging and being part of the change to realize a world that perpetuates justice. It is essential to note that a world that lacks justice prevents people from obtaining safety and healing, and that is the main purpose of Transformative Community Justice. Therefore, Transformative Community Justice aims at coming up with models that will provide responses deemed radical to offer healing to past distress, reduce existing or envisaged violence, and ensuring that people are mobilized for social change, to be experienced.
According to Morris (2000), Transformational Community Justice means the critical respond to the need for an approach to violence that is considered liberal. This can be deducted from the core beliefs of Transformative Community Justice, which in collaboration with an approach of liberation creates accountability and safety that is not based on the state, alienation, systemic violence, punishment, policing or incarceration. The three core beliefs formed by Transformative Community Justice include the trust that collective liberation and individual justice are essential at the same level. Thus, they support each other because they are intertwined, which makes the achievement of one without the other impossible. Secondly, according to Arrigo, Schehr, and Milovanovic (2005), Transformative Community Justice advances that in order for justice to be achieved in individual instances of violence, there is a need for transforming instances that promote violence to happen. Thirdly, Transformative Community Justice beliefs that the instruments responsible for preventing violence, which are the state and systemic responses to violence such as the criminal legal system and child welfare associations have failed in their duties as they condone the cycles of violence because they do not aim at reducing or eliminating violence completely.
Transformational Community Justice is also a method of response to the needs of crime offenders, as the current system does not offer solutions to their needs. Transformative Community Justice can be deemed in this perspective because it seeks to include all members in its process of transformation. This is done using the community to provide care to all members and avoid deserting the individuals that are in trouble whether they are the perpetrators of victims. Clear and Karp (2002) indicate that Transformative Community Justice does this through providing long-term reparations and healing to people who experience violence while at the same time using the communities of the perpetrators to administer justice to them. This is believed to stop immediate abuse, promising to abstain from future committing of crime, and providing reparations for future crimes. Notably, the accountability of this process cannot be achieved without the participation of the community; thus, the reason why Transformative Justice has to include the community in its processes.
Another definition of Transformation Community Justice is based on the need create a change concerning equity and the abuse of power within communities. This definition of Transformation Community Justice is given credit through its need to address oppression and injustice. Oppression and injustice are addressed through measures such as building the capacity of people in communities. Capacity building is addressed by increasing internal justice. Thus, Transformative Community Justice has set goals as a response to all forms of violence. Morris (2000) projects three goals of Transformative Community Justice, which include survivor safety, healing of past injustices and agency to forms of violence. Secondly, the transformation and accountability of those individuals that exploit the response of the community, and lastly, changing of the social aspects and community, which generate and escalate violence. These include factors such as the systems of exploitation, oppression, state violence, and domination.
Any group of people that has social contacts forms community and it play an immense role in Transformational Community Justice because it provides a social environment that requires to be transformed. The community also is involved in the transformational process as Transformational Community Justice seeks to deviate from the states form of punishment of offenders. Transformation has to take place in the community, justice system, and perpetrators of crime. Justice in the context of Transformational Community Justice aims at providing equity to both the perpetrator and the victim of the crime. The community plays a significant role in this case as it is the one, which provides ensures equity to both parties.
Therefore, Transformational Community Justice has attracted several definitions, which center on what is to be transformed, the concept of justice, and community. Transformational Community Justice is deemed as a philosophical strategy aimed at eliminating crime in the community because the current system does not offer the anticipated solutions. Transformational Community Justice deems essential to include the perpetrators of crime in the process of transformation, as this will help in their correction instead of punishment, which is considered essential for communities. In addition, it will help in reduction of future occurrences of crime, as the perpetrator will be rehabilitated with the notion that the community still cares for him. Three goals for Transformational Community Justice include survivor safety and healing of past injustices, changing social aspects that promote violence, and accountability of perpetrators of violence.
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