This article develops a critical approach to community-criminal justice partnerships. Drawing on case study data from one community partnership program developed by university administrators and staff from a state juvenile corrections department, we explore the strengths and weaknesses of increasingly popular partnership strategies for preventing and reducing crime. This partnership aimed to develop a transitional service center in which university personnel and community members worked with paroled youth in mentoring and community service projects. Through the analysis of the competing goals and implementation struggles in this case, we consider the validity of conflicting positive and negative perspectives on criminal justice partnerships. Our multilevel analysis reveals the innovations and limitations of a partnership approach. We demonstrate that to fully understand both the potential and dangers of partnership models, it is essential to consider the structural, organizational, and interactional levels of a project's emergence and implementation.
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