At Common Justice, we work to build transformative solutions to violence that can displace incarceration. Pragmatic and optimistic, we begin this work in practice. In Brooklyn and the Bronx, Common Justice engages younger adults (ages 16 to 26) and those they have harmed in a rigorous and cutting-edge alternative to incarceration and victim service program. If the harmed parties agree, violent felony cases such as robbery and assault are diverted from the criminal legal system into a restorative justice process that gives participants the power and opportunity to collectively identify and address impacts, needs, and obligations, in order to heal and make things as right as possible. The agreements that emerge from these dialogues, together with the violence intervention curriculum, replace the prison sentences our responsible parties would otherwise have served, and we provide wraparound supports to our harmed parties to support them in coming through what happened to them and in their lives generally.
Our advocacy work aims to build the collective power and capacity of the Black and Latnix community and other communities of color to ensure healing equity and to catalyze systemic change to support every community’s inherent right to heal. Common Justice knows that communities impacted by crime and violence—including crime survivors—have the power and right to define for themselves what produces safety, what constitutes accountability, and what facilitates healing. Common Justice is working with a growing member base to set priorities rooted in the needs and experiences of the communities most impacted by violence, and to draw on the lessons of local solutions that stand to be brought to a larger scale through collaboration, advocacy, and organizing.
At Common Justice, we know that stories shape what policies and solutions we can imagine and secure for our communities, and that our stories about violence have long been distorted and incomplete. Common Justice is committed to telling the truth about violence—about the people who survive it, the people who cause it, and the strategies that will work to end it. We are sharing what we have learned in our decade of work addressing violence without prison. We are working with our partners to establish a new way forward. In doing so, we know no one can tell these stories better than the people whose lives are at stake, so we are working to create broad new platforms to elevate their voices and leadership from the block to the Capitol.