By Commons Volunteer Librarian, E. T. Smith
This article introduces some of the key concepts of transformative justice and provides links to a wide array of resources. If you have additional materials that should be included in this list, please contact the Commons Librarians. Please note the organisations and services listed have an Australian focus but there are initiatives in many other parts of the world.
Note: Many of the listed resources link to content that includes discussions of violence and abusive behaviours which may have intense connotations or bring up difficult feelings and memories. Please consider ensuring that you are in a safe location and have options for support if needed.
Community accountability is a strategy for creating environments where it is possible to be accountable to address violence within our communities (rather than relying on the police/prison-based punitive system).
Community accountability strategies include:
- Provide SAFETY & SUPPORT to community members who are violently targeted that RESPECTS THEIR SELF-DETERMINATION.
- Create and affirm VALUES & PRACTICES that resist abuse and oppression and encourage safety, support, and accountability.
- Develop sustainable strategies to ADDRESS COMMUNITY MEMBERS’ ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR, creating a process for them to account for their actions and transform their behavior.
- Commit to ongoing development of all members of the community, and the community itself, to TRANSFORM THE POLITICAL CONDITIONS that reinforce oppression and violence.
The text above and image below are from ‘What are Community Accountability & Transformative Justice?‘
Transformative justice describes a systems approach to identifying root causes of conflict and responding to these as a community – including developing various harm-reduction processes to interpersonal violence within communities at the grassroots level rather than relying on punishment, incarceration, or policing. Beyond Survival, edited by Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (2020)
What is Transformative Justice? – A video by Barnard Center for Research on Women, featuring Adrienne Maree Brown, Mia Mingus, Stas Schmiedt, Ann Russo, Esteban Kelly, Martina Kartman, Priya Rai, and Shira Hassa (2020)
Restorative justice practices develop processes “whereby parties with a stake in a specific offence collectively resolve how to deal with the aftermath of the offence and its implications for the future” (ALRC). While these approaches can contribute to transformative justice, sometimes they function as an adjunct to punitive systems of justice (e.g., see the ADRC History of Restorative Justice in Australia and, for a critique, the Undercurrent Podcast on Principles and Frameworks for Accountability)
Transformative justice is a decolonizing and anti-oppression approach [that] addresses oppression by systems of domination, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, elitism, classism, and ableism within all domestic, interpersonal, global, and community conflicts. In short, transformative justice is restorative justice plus social justice. Transformative justice expands the social justice model, which challenges and identifies injustices, in order to create organized processes of addressing and ending those injustices. Transformative Justice Journal (2020) Vol 1.1 p.2
- Tool kit for community-based intervention to interpersonal violence a collaboration between Te Wānanga o Raukawa and Creative Interventions, 2021
- Pods and Pod Mapping Worksheet written by Mia Mingus for the BATJC, 2016
- Fumbling Towards Repair A Workbook for Community Accountability Facilitators by Mariame Kaba and Shira Hassan, 2019
- How to use restorative justice in the classroom and school by Kristin Reimer, 2019
- How to give an authentic, informed apology
- Two arguments to help decide whether to ‘cancel’ someone and their work, Tina Sikka, 2019, The Conversation.
- An example from Enspiral’s of including transformative justice approaches within the context of co-working collectives
- Creative Interventions Toolkit by Creative Interventions 2021
- Holding Change – The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation by adrienne marie brown, 2021
- We Will Not Cancel Us & Other Dreams of Transformative Justice, adrienne maree brown, 2020
- Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement, Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (ed.) 2020
- Changing lenses: a new focus for crime and justice, Howard Zehr, 1990
- Taking Risks: Implementing Grassroots Community Accountability Strategies – a chapter in INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, 2016
Podcasts & Videos
- Undercurrent Victoria Panel on Principles and Frameworks for Accountability, 2016 – speakers: Kirra Voller (for Shut Youth Prisons Mparntwe); Ada Conroy; Lauren Caulfield; Marisa Sposaro; Anthony Lekkas; and Anthony Kelly (for Flemington Kensington Legal and Police Accountability Project).
- Beyond Punishment: The Movement for Transformative Justice (2017), Rustbelt Abolition Radio 2017
- Building Accountable Communities – A Barnard Center for Research on Women panel (2018) with Kiyomi Fujikawa, Shannon Perez-Darby, and Mariame Kaba.
- What are Obstacles to Accountability? – A video created by Project Nia and the Barnard Center for Research on Women (2019), featuring Sonya Shah, Nuri Nusrat, Mimi Kim, Ann Russo, Esteban Kelly, Adrienne Maree Brown, Rachel Herzing, Stas Schmiedt, Lea Roth, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, and Mia Mingus
- ‘Imagine Justice: How Do We Invest In Transformative Communities?’ Penn Public Health seminar featuring speakers Cameron Okeke and Saadiq Anderson-Bey (2021)
- Panel Discussion: Finding a job with a criminal record – what new spent convictions laws mean for you, – a Law Week event, held on 17 May 2021 – [slides also available](file:///C:/Users/RA_ES/AppData/Local/Temp/finding-a-job-with-a-criminal-record-law-week-event-slides.pdf)
- Transformative Justice Podcast
- Alternatives to Police – Queer Organising by Julia Rose Bak, Archer 2021
- Community Accountability Decentering Police by Kristian Reyes, Archer 2021
- Cancel Culture and Australia, On Focus ABC Radio (2020) with Josh Szeps with Jesse Singal and Dr Anthony Lambert.
- The Real ‘Cancel Culture’ In Australia Started 232 Years Ago Dean Frenkel 2020, New Matilda.
- Mutual Aid Justice: Beyond Survival – an interview with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Ejeris Dixon on the Laura Flanders Show, 2020
- Restorative justice for survivors of sexual assault, Damien Carrick, Law Report ABC Radio, 2017
- Decolonising the Justice System, RNZ Radio, 2017
- Transformative justice – a concept note by Paul Gready, Jelke Boesten, Gordon Crawford,& Polly Wilding 2010
- Transformative Justice Network (international research network).
- The Transformative Justice Journal (TJJ), founded in 2012, is an online, open-source, peer-reviewed scholar-activist, anti-authoritarian, subversive, and critical penal abolition journal dedicated to promoting transformative justice.
- Restorative justice, Family Violence—Improving Legal Frameworks (ALRC CPS 1), 2010
- DRAG THEM: A Brief Etymology of so-Called “Cancel Culture”, Meredith D. Clark, 2020, Communication and the Public 5 (3–4): 88–92.
- Community-led sexual violence and prevention work: Utilising a Transformative Justice framework, Rebecca Howe, 2018
- Transformative strategies in indigenous education: a study of decolonisation and positive social change: the Indigenous Community Management Program Walker, R. (2004), Curtin University
Additional Resource Lists
- List of resources for community-based interventions to interpersonal violence, community accountability and transformative justice, compiled by Undercurrent
- Melbourne Community Accountability Network, Transformative Justice Camp 2017 – notes and resources
- Resources for Addressing Harm, Accountability, and Healing by Critical Resistance
- Reading list compiled by the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective
- Moving at the Speed of Trust: Disability Justice and Transformative Justice – Multiple videos and list of associated resources.
Organisations & Services
- Melbourne Community Accountability Network
- Undercurrent Victoria – “develop and deliver comprehensive programs… informed by transformative justice and intersectional feminism.”
- Transformative Justice Australia – a collection of initiatives developed through collaboration between legal practitioners, researchers, and those with lived experience.
- The Family Violence Restorative Justice (FVRJ) Service, Victoria
- Australian Association for Restorative Justice
- The Federation of Community Legal Centres, Australia
- Rainbow Door – a free specialist LGBTIQA+ helpline providing information, support, and referral to all LGBTIQA+ Victorians, their friends and family
- How are social change movements within Australia incorporating community-approaches to interpersonal conflict – both within these movements and in terms of facilitating community-based accountability and justice practices within broader society?
- How might community-approaches to justice be relevant to settlers practicing accountability (individually and collectively) for the harms experienced by Indigenous people as a result of historical and ongoing colonial practices?
If you have thoughts on these questions and/or additional materials that should be included in this list, please contact the Commons Librarians.
- Anti oppression work
- Conflict resolution
- Justice - Transformative_Transitional_Restorative