From the

Ground Up


Save the date June 19, 2018 for the Institute's 13th gala. Click here for information on tickets and sponsorships.

The Institute seeks to ensure that urban residents live in a society that respects their humanity, provides equality of economic opportunity, empowers them to use their voice in the political process, and protects equal justice.



Learn About the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice


In the News

Scott Novakowski Speaks with Governing: Why We Must Restore the Right to Vote to People with Convictions

April 25, 2018

Governing reports:

"It's just not a credible argument to say that voting presents a threat to public safety," says Scott Novakowski, associate counsel at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, which is pushing for restoration of voting rights for felons, including those currently serving time. "There's no justification for this practice. It's having a massive impact on communities of color."

The stakes are large. Nationwide, 6 million people with felony convictions are disenfranchised, including 4.7 million who have completed their prison sentences. The Florida ban alone affects 1.6 million, or 10 percent of the state's voting-age population. Florida is one of 33 states that doesn't automatically restore voting rights to ex-felons. (Two, Maine and Vermont, don't strip felons of their voting rights at all -- even while they're incarcerated...)

"New Jersey unfortunately has the greatest disparity in convictions," says Novakowski of the state's Institute for Social Justice. "A black adult is 12 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white adult. This idea of tying the criminal justice system to the right to vote is furthering this inequality and reproducing it within the electorate."

Comcast Newsmakers: New Report and Racial Disparities In New Jersey's Youth Prison System

April 18, 2018


Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian spoke with Comcast Newsmakers about her new report on building a prison-to-school pipeline. Watch the interview here

Teen Vogue: New Jersey Has Adopted Automatic Voter Registration

April 18, 2018

Teen Vogue reports:

This will be the first voting rights bill I sign, but I hope it won’t be the last,” Murphy said. Currently, New Jersey is looking at more voting legislation to potentially adopt, including early voting and Election Day registration. As Mic reports, members of the state legislature are also working to give voting rights back to convicted felons who are still in prison or on parole or probation.

Upcoming Events

Wed, Apr 25, 2018
06:00 PM

505 S 15th St, Newark, NJ 07103, United States Jehovah-Jireh Praise & Worship Church Center
Newark, NJ

Community Forum: Stop Policy

The Newark Police Division invites you to attend a community forum to gather your feedback on the Stop Policy. The meeting will be hosted by Captain Brian O'Hara of the Consent Decree and Planning ...

Thu, Apr 26, 2018
06:00 PM

400 Hawthorne Ave, Newark, NJ 07112, United States NAN Newark Tech World
Newark, NJ

CommUNITY and Cops: Body Worn Camera and In-Car Camera Demonstration

The Newark Police Division invites you to see a demonstration of their Body Worn Camera and In-Car Camera System.

Sat, Apr 28, 2018
01:00 PM

427 Darrow Ave, Plainfield , NJ 07060, United States Washington Community School
Plainfield , NJ

Re-examining the criminal justice system with Andrea McChristian

Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian will discuss the state of criminal justice in New Jersey and how we can transform the system. This lecture is part of the Frontiers International West...

Wed, May 02, 2018
06:00 PM

2 Grafton Aevnue , Newark , NJ 07104, United States The Waterfront Sports, Arts & Entertainment Center
Newark , NJ

Community Forum: Search Policy

The Newark Police Division invites you to attend a community forum to gather your feedback on their Search Policy. The event is hosted by Captain Brian O'Hara of the Consent Decree and Planning Div...

Given the significant challenges we face, we have only two options: to embrace chaos or embrace community. We choose community. Join us as we work to bend our neighborhoods toward the beloved community.


Learn more about NJISJ