Criminal justice agencies increasingly use community engagement practices in efforts to improve public safety and garner legitimacy. While crime rates can be measured, improved legitimacy is harder to gauge. This article provides a framework to assess the influence of community engagement practices in the criminal justice system on legitimacy in three areas: authenticity, coherence in structure, and shifts in power dynamics. We explore each component through case studies of community policing, consent decrees, and community courts, respectively. We propose that this framework could be used to assess or build the capacity of community engagement to repair relationships with marginalised communities.
Authenticity, coherence, and power shifts
A framework for assessing community engagement across the criminal justice system