Break-through local solutions

In Brooklyn, Common Justice operates an alternative to incarceration and victim service program for serious and violent felonies.  If—and only if—the harmed parties consent, Common Justice diverts cases such as assault and robbery into a dialogue process designed to recognize the harm done, identify the needs and interests of those harmed, and develop appropriate sanctions to hold the responsible party accountable.

Supporting those harmed: Common Justice offers harmed parties the opportunity to have their needs validated and addressed, to participate in shaping the consequences of the crime, to co-create and implement a wraparound service plan, and to develop strategies to cope with and come through the trauma they experienced.

Holding young people accountable: Program staff rigorously monitors responsible parties’ compliance with the resultant agreements—which may include restitution, extensive community service, and commitments to attend school and work—while supervising their completion of the 15-month intensive violence intervention program. Responsible parties who complete both their assigned sanctions and the violence intervention program successfully do not serve the jail or prison sentences they would otherwise have faced.

Healing communities: For cases in which incarceration does not serve the public interest, Common Justice provides a safe and effective option that seeks to repair rather than sever communal ties in the aftermath of serious crime. The program aims to address the underlying causes of violence and help foster a long-term process of transformation for individuals and communities.

National Impact

HealingWorks: Common Justice launched HealingWorks, the first national learning collaborative for people working with young men of color who have been harmed by violence and trauma, in 2015.  HealingWorks addresses the compelling needs of these young survivors by delivering tools, resources, and community-building support to the people and organizations that serve them.

Steering Resources to Underserved Survivors: Common Justice is working partnership to ensure that the greatest possible portion of the newly increased federal victim service (VOCA) funding reaches those most impacted by violence and least served by existing services.  The effort includes engagement of providers and survivors, technical assistance, and organizing.

National Recognition

In 2012, Common Justice was recognized with the Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services from the United States Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). Every year, OVC recognizes individuals and organizations that demonstrate outstanding service in supporting victims and victim services. The Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services is given to one organization in the country that has demonstrated leadership in expanding the reach of victims' rights and services.

For more information, contact Project Director, Danielle Sered.

Read a New Yorker Story featuring Common Justice from 2015.

Watch a short explainer video from Brave New Films, narrated by Project Director, Danielle Sered

Why We Need This Project

Violence remains one of the most intractable struggles facing low income communities.  Our near exclusive reliance on incarceration to address violence has failed crime survivors—including young men of color, who are among those most likely to be harmed.  Incarcerating the person responsible often fails to alleviate the trauma and pain of those harmed, and recidivism rates show time and time again that incarceration is limited in its ability to secure public safety.  As a nation, we have developed a devastating dependence on prison despite its profound limitations in meeting the needs of crime survivors and communities.  Common Justice believes something else is possible.