Top Cats: The Role and Requirements of Leadership in Community Justice Initiatives

Published 14/09/2011
Type Article
Author(s) Susie Atherton, Annette Crisp
Corresponding Authors Susie Atherton, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, De Montfort University

Community justice initiatives attempt to meet dual aims of dealing with offending and engaging citizens in their local community. They exist throughout the criminal justice system, where policy is being firmly placed at a more local level. Arguably, this requires a clearer understanding of the community in which they are implemented and of what is understood by the term ‘community’. In addition, a feature of community justice initiatives often includes partnership working and concerns over the role of leadership, in relation to responsibility and accountability, in order that such initiatives are effectively implemented. Leadership is also highlighted as a key component necessary for building social cohesion and social capital (Rai, 2008; Cantle Report, 2006; Coleman, 1990), which many community justice initiatives aim to improve on, or draw from. This paper explores the role and type of leadership which can be identified in various community justice initiatives and its importance in contributing to our understanding of social cohesion and communities. The paper assesses current attempts to implement community justice in the context of different styles of leadership and highlights the inherent complexities of organisations and multi-agency working, which need to be better understood.