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NCJ Number: 76989 Find in a Library
Title: Community Justice Versus Crime Control (From Race, Crime, and Criminal Justice, P 147-159, 1981, R L McNeely and Carl E Pope, ed. - See NCJ-76982)
Author(s): P Parnell
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the Flats, a black neighborhood in a midwestern city, and of a community in Oaxaco, Mexico, shows that local control mechanisms for racial minority groups should be incorporated into the formal legal system to decrease crime rates.
Abstract: The extensive cooperative system among black families and friends in the Flats has evolved as one which involves patterns of coresidence, kinship-based exchange networks linking multiple domestic units, elastic household boundaries, and lifelong bonds to three generational households. Flats residents attach to the jural role of authority criteria which are not recognized within the control systems of the larger society. Similarly, the criteria by which outside systems justify their authority are not sufficient to legitimize their authority over Flats social relations. The resulting cultural conflicts cause violence and prevent effective control of offenses. Integration of the community-based justice system and the State system of appeals is attempted in the judicial district of Villa Nueva in Oaxaca, Mexico. On the local level, village court officials are elected and police are appointed, and all are responsible to village and local custom rather than to the State. In State courts, disputes are adjudicated by judges appointed by the State, who respond to State law rather than to local custom. However, as a result of competition between the two systems, the State achieves closure in only a few of the cases it opens, and State court use of personal contacts for information causes inequitable access to the judicial process. The operation of the appeals system in the Mexican decentralized system shows that the fit between community and State control mechanisms will influence the nature of control processes and the success of the legal system in managing disputes. Similar dynamics may develop in those systems in the United States fostered by decentralization. However, giving greater responsibility and jurisdiction in control to communities such as The Flats may eliminate conflicts of authority, style, and structure. Cultural conflict may be managed most effectively through coupling community-based justice with the establishment of an alternative structure of appeals flexible enough to mediate between intercommunity conflicts and conflicts between community residents and State and municipal bureaucrats. Discussion of relevant research and about 20 references are included.
Index Term(s): Alternative dispute settlement; Black/African Americans; Conflict resolution; Court reform; Cultural influences; Decentralization; Interagency cooperation; Mexico; Minorities; Neighborhood justice centers; New York
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