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Our Story

Now in its 58th year, the International Community

Justice Association was formed in 1964 when a

small group of halfway house operators from

across the United States and Canada met in

Chicago and formed the International Halfway

House Association(IHHA).

With the goal of professionalizing the field and forging an international network of community-based providers who could share knowledge about program operations and best practices, the leaders of the IHHA believed halfway house programs could play an important role helping people transition from prison back into the social and economic life of their communities. 

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the IHHA expanded its membership and influence against the backdrop of rising crime, the pervasive belief that rehabilitative programs did not work, and the widespread adoption of draconian drug laws, aggressive policing, and mandatory sentencing that set the stage for what would come to be called “mass incarceration” or the “new Jim Crow.” The IHHA became one of the only professional communities during the “get tough on crime” era that stayed wedded to the idea of rehabilitation engaging in advocacy efforts to expand community-based programming and supports as an alternative to investments in jails and prisons.

In 1989 the IHHE transitioned into the International Association of Residential and Community Alternatives (IARCA) during its STIGMA conference in London in recognition of the fact that community-based programming for justice system-involved individuals had both expanded and diversified beyond the halfway house model. Through the STIGMA conferences, the association expanded is influence in the United Kingdom, Denmark, and other European countries, which was reflected on the association board of directors at the time.

After the introduction of the risk-need-responsivity model of correctional and behavioral rehabilitation in Canada in the early 1990s, the association reorganized again as the International Community Corrections Association (ICCA) in 1995. With the expressed purpose of “doing what works” and promoting the implementation of evidence-based practices, the ICCA focused its efforts on the integration of research, policy, and practice to reduce recidivism through effectively administered community programs and services for more than 25-years.

In January of 2022, the association transitioned into its current form as the International Community Justice Association (ICJA) with a vision to change the public perception of justice system-involved individuals, end the overuse of incarceration and correctional supervision, and achieve a more just society. With the overarching goal of helping communities develop a continuum of integrated services and supports that not only provide effective alternatives to incarceration, but also improve public health and safety, the ICJA continues to represent a deep network of emerging and established community-based organizations, policy advocates, researchers, and governmental agencies and officials.


Association Timeline

1964: International Halfway House Association (IHHA)

1989: International Association of Residential Community Alternatives (IARCA)

1995: International Community Corrections Association (ICCA)

2022: International Community Justice Association (ICJA)