Local justice: see it, do it, teach it

The NJC has been awarded International Mentor Community Justice status by the prestigious US-based Center for Court Innovation.

Victoria’s Chief Magistrate Judge Hannon and NJC’s Magistrate David Fanning accepted the award from New York-based Judge Calabrese, one of the USA’s driving forces behind the rise of the community justice movement. 

NJC Magistrate David Fanning said the award recognises the Centre’s unique approach to community justice and crime prevention, and is a testament to the success of “doing justice locally”.

“Community courts have a track record of delivering individualised justice in specific areas or neighbourhoods hard hit by crime that reduces crime rates and recidivism,” he said. “This place-based justice improves confidence in the justice system.”

The NJC is the only justice centre in Australia to see its formula of problem-solving and conflict resolution techniques and community crime prevention, and over the years, justice and government delegations from Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Canada, Indonesia, Korea, Holland, the USA, and China have sat alongside the Magistrate, and learnt from its practitioners.

The Centre showcases how ‘wrap-around’ treatment services that lift people out of the downward spiral of offending through intensive, multi-agency intervention.

The Centre is also a place to experience problem-solving techniques that treat crime as a problem to be solved through collaboration, which support victims, offenders, and the community.

While the NJC is a mentor court, so too it learns, which is why its methods of doing justice locally continue to evolve.

“The next frontier is to rethink how we work with communities and individuals most adversely affected by crime and structural disadvantage,” said Magistrate Fanning, “In doing so we can improve public safety not just case-by-case, but also place-by-place.  

“Community justice has always worked at the forefront of justice, and its growth and success come from one deceptively simple thing: listen and learn.”

This is the second time the CCI has conferred mentor court status on the NJC, the first being in 2017 in line with its tenth anniversary.

The NJC welcomes anyone interested in understanding more about the model to contact us to discuss how we can help further.

The NJC team thanks the following colleagues who joined NJC’s Magistrate, General Manager and staff for participating in the award ceremony, which took place over several time zones.
Center for Court Innovation: Judge Alex Calabrese, Presiding Judge, Red Hook Community Justice Centre and Acting Judge, Supreme Court, NY; Courtney Bryan, Executive Director; Aaron Arnold, Director of Technical Assistance; Medina Henry, Deputy.
Magistrates’ Courts Victoria: Her Honour, Chief Magistrate, Judge Lisa Hannan; Simon Hollingsworth, Chief Executive Officer; Elissa Scott, Director, Specialist Courts and Program.