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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.



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In the News

The American Prospect: Movement in the Fight for Voting Rights Restoration

February 06, 2018

The American Prospect reports:

New Jersey is another state that has a real chance to make significant change this year. With a new Democratic governor who campaigned on criminal justice reform, Democratic majorities in both houses, and legislation already filed by two veteran senators, the possibilities for success are real. A recent report issued by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ) called “We Are Not 1844” makes note of the year felony disenfranchisement was passed and the 94,000 people currently disenfranchised....According to Scott Novakowski of the NJISJ, “This is a perfect time to take a look at a policy with such discriminatory impact and no public safety value. We can make New Jersey a model of what an inclusive democracy can look like.” The legislature will go to work on this in the next several months.


Correctional News: New Jersey Enacts Law to Examine Racial Disparity in Sentencing

January 23, 2018

Correctional News reports:

Theoretically, with proper data analysis, policymakers can make more informed decisions regarding public safety issues without “aggravating existing racial disparities,” according to a statement issued by the Sentencing Project, an initiative that works for a fair and effective U.S. justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy. The organization, which worked with several state partners in pushing the legislation (including Rev. Charles Boyer who leads a coalition called Salvation and Social Justice, Drug Policy Alliance – NJ; ditto the ACLU of New Jersey) also advocates for alternatives to incarceration and seeks to address unjust racial disparities and practices. To that end, in 2016, a study by The Sentencing Project found that New Jersey has the nation’s highest rate of black/white disparity in incarceration.

“New Jersey has the worst black/white youth incarceration disparity rate in the country. Even though black and white kids commit most offenses at similar rates, a black child is, incredibly, 30 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white child. As a result, just 13 white children are incarcerated in New Jersey as of January of this year,” said Ryan P. Haygood, President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (the Institute) in a statement issued on its website in September 2017.

“We know that all kids can be saved. These striking racial disparities reflect racially discriminatory policy decisions that determine which kids get prison and which kids do not in New Jersey. We cannot support this shameful system of youth incarceration. It is, at its core, racialized, ineffective and destructive to youth and their families. It is a moral stain on our state,” Haygood’s statement continued.

In a prior report published by the Institute in December 2016, entitled “Bring Our Children Home: Ain’t I A Child,” it was found that black youth comprise nearly 75 percent of those committed to both secure and non-secure state juvenile facilities.

Upcoming Events

Sat, Feb 10, 2018
02:00 PM

5 Washington St, Newark, NJ 07102, United States Newark Public Library
Newark, NJ

Black Lives Matter-Newark 2018 Panel

Demelza Baer, Institute Senior Counsel and Director of the Economic Mobility Initiative, will speak at the Black Lives Matter-Newark 2018 panel discussion.     

Tue, Feb 13, 2018
05:30 PM

803 Smithville Rd, Mt. Holly, NJ 08060, United States The Underground Railroad Museum of Burlington County
Mt. Holly, NJ

The Bordentown School: Building the Prison-to-School Pipeline

Join us for a night of reflection on the legacy and future of the Bordentown School, New Jersey’s “Tuskegee of the North.” Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian will preview her forthcomi...

Tue, Feb 20, 2018
12:00 PM

131-137 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608, United States State House Annex, Gold Finch Plaza
Trenton, NJ

Youth Justice New Jersey Art Exhibition & Video Launch

Join us at the State House Annex in Goldfinch Square in Trenton from 12:00-1:30 PM for an exhibition of artwork created by justice-involved youth. This event is hosted by Senator Ron Rice and was p...

Tue, Mar 06, 2018
09:00 AM

68 Elm St, Summit, NJ 07901, United States Visual Arts Center of New Jersey
Summit, NJ

Art, Storytelling, and Social Justice Educational Symposium

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, coLAB Arts, and the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey are co-hosting the Art, Storytelling and Social Justice Educational Symposium, which will connect e...

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.


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