Collaborative Justice

Project Products

Through its Collaborative Justice Resource Center, the Center developed a series of products designed to support the establishment or enhancement of collaborative criminal justice efforts. Those products are listed below and are all available for download.

Collaboration: A Training Curriculum to Enhance the Effectiveness of Criminal Justice Teams (Curriculum)

Collaboration: A Training Curriculum to Enhance the Effectiveness of Criminal Justice Teams (Slides)

This curriculum is designed to assist multidisciplinary criminal justice teams in establishing or enhancing truly collaborative relationships and draws on both theory and practice in the areas of teamwork, group dynamics, adult learning theory, and organizational development. The curriculum is designed for a 3–day interactive workshop that combines plenary sessions with teamwork exercises specifically developed to assist groups in evaluating their effectiveness and building their potential as a highly functioning team. The curriculum includes lecture content, instructions for trainers, participant materials, slides, handouts, and teamwork exercises.

Five Reasons Why Judges Should Become More Involved in Establishing, Leading, and Participating on Collaborative, policy-focused Teams

This monograph addresses the critically important role judges play in convening and leading collaborative teams focused on enhancing the administration of justice and the ethical considerations surrounding judges’ participation on such teams. It also discusses why the perspective of the judge is so unique, how judges’ participation helps to bring other stakeholders to the table, and why their involvement or leadership of such teams is essential to achieving meaningful outcomes.

The Importance of Data and Information in Achieving Successful Criminal Justice Outcomes

Criminal and juvenile justice collaborative teams are routinely formed to both identify and implement system-wide enhancements and address specific challenges with respect to system and offender management strategies. Regardless of the type of team or the scope of the problem the team is chartered to address, these efforts will yield better results when agencies join together to collect, understand, and use data and information as the basis to their policy development work. This monograph focuses on the rationale for using data to inform policy development and its sources and provides references for additional resource materials to guide the development of data collection plans.

The Role of Facilitators and Staff in Supporting Collaborative Teams

There are several keys to the success of collaborative teams; one of these is the support the team receives through the assistance of a facilitator and other supporting staff. This document describes the roles of these individuals, the skill set necessary for facilitators and staff to advance the work of teams, the responsibilities these individuals typically carry, and resources to enhance the effectiveness of these important team members.

The Importance of Collaborative Leadership in Achieving Effective Criminal Justice Outcomes

Justice system professionals are increasingly called upon to collaborate in an effort to more effectively address the challenging issues facing the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Much attention is paid to the role of the team as a whole in carrying out its mutually established vision, mission, and goals. Less focus is typically paid to the leader of the team, perhaps because the act of singling out and emphasizing the role of one individual over the other team members somehow diminishes the importance of the others, or contradicts the notion of equality that is so central to collaborative teams. And yet, the critical role of the team leader is undeniable. This monograph explores the unique qualities and skills of leaders and their role on the collaborative team.

The Emergence of Collaboration as the Preferred Approach in Criminal Justice

Collaboration has great potential in criminal justice as a tool to create more responsive solutions to crime in our communities. While it has been lauded as an effective approach to work activities and decisionmaking, collaboration still is more a concept than a practice. While many criminal justice leaders and practitioners shy away from collaborative ventures, there are a growing number who truly believe in the power of collaboration to create positive systematic change, and are willing to devote time and effort to such processes. As this paper suggests, the difficulty of creating collaborative responses within the criminal justice system cannot be overlooked. However, the challenging nature of this work should not preclude us from expanding and enhancing collaborative criminal justice efforts in order to better protect and support our communities.

Advocating for Clients: Defenders and Collaboration in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice System

This article provides a brief overview of the literature on collaboration, describes the challenges and benefits of justice system collaboratives, and outlines how defenders can work with their colleagues in the criminal justice, social service, and other relevant systems to most effectively advocate for their clients.

Collaborating for Justice: Involvement of Prosecutors in Criminal Justice Collaborations

Prosecutors are essential stakeholders in any effort to create change within the criminal justice system. As such, they are being asked with greater and greater frequency to serve on interagency teams promoting collaborative approaches to problem solving among criminal justice practitioners, social service agencies, and members of the community.  This article addresses the challenges and benefits of collaboration to prosecutors, and discusses how effective collaboration can help ensure that the policies and procedures of the criminal justice system better meet the needs of the prosecutors’ office and create the opportunity for transformative change.

Collaborating for Justice: Involvement of Judges in Criminal Justice Collaborations

As the effectiveness of collaborative approaches to addressing challenges within the criminal justice system become more apparent, more and more judges are being called upon to participate in these broad policymaking and system change efforts.  Such requests to collaborate pose unique challenges to the judiciary, who must weigh judicial independence and the canons of ethical judicial conduct against the benefits a judicial perspective can provide. This article addresses the unique challenges and benefits collaboration poses to the judiciary and those responsible for administering justice through the courts.

Working Towards the Future: Why and How to Collaborate Effectively

Recognizing that collaboration is imperative to an effective criminal justice system, corrections professionals are more willing than ever to establish partnerships with other key stakeholders in the offender management arena. Although there are many barriers to forming a successful collaborative, the benefits – including mutual understanding, shared responsibilities, and enhanced support – are far greater than the challenges faced by corrections professionals. This article defines collaboration, describes the need for a shared vision and common purpose for a collaborative endeavor to be successful, and identifies the necessary qualities of team members for an effective collaboration.

For Additional Information

For additional information about the Center’s work in collaborative justice, please contact Leilah Gilligan, Director of Operations, at