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NIJ (National Institute of Justice) Director Emphasizes Community Policing in Keynote Address

NCJ Number
Corrections Today Volume: 58 Issue: 4 Dated: (July 1996) Pages: 112-114
Date Published
3 pages

Jeremy Travis, director of the National Institute of Justice, draws on the lessons of community policing to improve the corrections enterprise in this summary of a keynote address, entitled "Lessons for the Criminal Justice System from Twenty Years of Policing Reform."


Community policing is based on the concept that government and community should work closely together in producing a safe community. This concept can also apply to corrections. Surveys in a number of States and counties show that the public supports community service, restitution, drug treatment, and other immediate sanctions for nonviolent offenders. Every effort should be made to keep offenders in touch with positive community resources. This precludes the use of imprisonment for all but the most dangerous offenders. The criminal justice system should do all it can to keep an offender's community support structure intact and preferably strengthened, so that offenders are less likely to reoffend. A second lesson of community policing is that problemsolving is more effective than reactive crisis response. Applying this concept in corrections means that corrections professionals cooperate with and coordinate community resources to address problems that could precipitate recidivism, rather than simply reacting after the reoffending occurs. A third lesson of community policing is to pay attention to small problems that fuel larger problems. Attention to sanctions for minor offenses and the holding of petty offenders accountable gives both the community and offenders the sense that responsible behavior is given high priority in the community.

Date Published: January 1, 1996