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We suggest that at the root of public safety is the basic human desire to live in consciously caring neighborhoods, where children are able to play outside without worry, where elders are comfortable with moving about, and where there is a sense of community, respect, and neighborliness.
— Estes, Johnson, Manley, and Reed, Op-Ed published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 2017

Since the early 1990s, community justice has been connected to the way the court system and judicial process involves the community (Lanni, 2005). But community justice and public safety involve so much more than the judicial process. Communities of color, LGBTQ people, poor people, and other marginalized groups, are constantly surveilled and criminalized. As acclaimed lawyer and author Michelle Alexander powerfully describes, mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow.

How can communities take back control over their own safety? How can those most impacted by laws and policies that criminalize black and brown bodies, and other marginalized people, have a direct role in shaping those laws and policies? 

Read more perspectives in our op-ed published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch


  • "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander

  • "White Rage" by Carol Alexander

  • "are prisons obsolete" by Angela Davis

  • "Burning Down the House" by Nell Bernstein

Articles and other research

Additional research can be found at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute,

If you are working on this issue and/or have additional books, articles, and other research to contribute to the list, please send us a message.