Youth First's newsletter highlighted the Institute's campaign to close New Jersey's youth prisons:
Further north, Youth Justice New Jersey launched their campaign to close youth prisons. New Jersey is joining the call for #NoKidsInPrison and telling New Jersey it’s time to close their youth prisons, Hayes and Jamesburg, once and for all. Thank you all for your commitment to remaking our justice system so that young people can find the help and opportunities they need to be successful without being taken away from their communities.
Rabbi Jesse M. Olitzky. the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth El in South Orange and a member of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Social Justice Commission, writes in New Jersey Jewish News:
The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Youth Justice New Jersey launched this campaign to close Jamesburg and the Juvenile Female Secure Care and Intake Facility (also known as Hayes) and to focus on rehabilitation, intensive and developmentally appropriate wrap-around services, and smaller facilities closer to children’s parents instead of locking them away in youth prisons...
Kimberly McLain, President and Chief Executive Officer of Newark Alliance, writes in the Star Ledger:
Newark residents hold only 18 percent of all jobs in the city, a proportion much lower than most major cities, according to a New Jersey Institute for Social Justice report. And the city's poverty rate is at 30 percent, more than double the national average.
People will argue there's a moral imperative for Newark businesses to hire locally, and there is one. People will say good corporate citizens must do right by their residents, and they do. However, beyond these traditional principled arguments, for those leaders who must answer to their investors and bottom lines, there is also a compelling business case to be made.
Institute Associate Counsel Scott Novakowski writes for the Asbury Park Press:
Since its inception, the commission has served as a taxpayer-funded assault on the integrity of our elections. It must be disbanded. Unlike claims that our elections are infiltrated by ineligible voters, significant barriers to voting are real and threaten to undermine our democracy. To truly protect the integrity of our democratic processes, we must redirect our energy and resources toward the real challenge: ensuring that all eligible voters are able to cast a ballot.
Andrea McChristian & Ryan P. Haygood Featured in New York Times Coverage of Newark Rebellion Anniversary
The New York Times interviewed Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian and Institute President and CEO Ryan P. Haygood for their piece, Five Days of Unrest That Shaped, and Haunted, Newark:
Even though there is skepticism from a great deal of people who have been hurt before, I think there is also this competing hope, where people are hopeful that maybe this time, with the vibrancy and intergenerational nature with a lot of these coalitions, we can get some reforms going. - Andrea McChristian
Look at the strides the city has made in 50 years, but there’s also a need to look at the underlying issues that led to the Newark rebellion in the first place. If we fail to address those issues, we leave ourselves vulnerable to another rebellion. - Ryan P. Haygood
On the fiftieth anniversary of the Newark Rebellion, Institute President and CEO Ryan P. Haygood writes in the New York Times:
Violent encounters with the police catalyzed the Newark Rebellion, just as they did the protests in hundreds of other cities across America in 1967. But these events came after decades of frustration and justifiable anger about the enduring effects of poverty, racism and a lack of opportunity. Indeed, Life magazine described what happened in Newark as a “predictable insurrection.”
As such, what happened in Newark was not a riot. It was a rebellion, an act of empowerment meant to resist the oppressive conditions under which Newark residents had been forced to live. Consider the extreme racial polarization in the city at the time: White people virtually monopolized political power, and the police force was about 90 percent white in a city with a substantial black population...
Indeed, law enforcement abuses in Newark have been so pervasive that in July 2014, the Department of Justice announced a pattern of widespread civil rights violations in the Newark Police Department. It found that Newark’s police officers had no legal basis for 75 percent of their pedestrian stops from 2009 to 2012, which were used disproportionately against black people. In addition, the Newark police detained innocent people for “milling,” “loitering” or “wandering.”
But police abuse is just one of the many challenges that Newark residents face. The city is home to one of the largest transportation hubs in the United States, Fortune 500 businesses, world-class research universities and cultural institutions, and a large network of hospitals and community health centers. And a majority of the people who work here earn more than $40,000 a year, according to a report just released by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.
But this prosperity is not shared by a majority of Newark residents. Nearly one in three of the city’s black residents lives in poverty.
The Guardian reports:
Newark remains one of America’s poorest cities, with one-third of residents below the poverty line. Residents hold only 18% of jobs in the city – far less than in “similarly situated” cities such as Baltimore and New Orleans – and only 10% of jobs that pay more than $40,000 per year, according to a new report by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. A 2014 study of six of the city’s anchor firms and universities found only 3% of procurement went to local suppliers. The data shows a city where a real downtown boom has brought, so far, little benefit to the broader population.
The Observer reports:
Before New Jersey’s decision was announced, advocacy groups including the ACLU urged Guadagno to deny the request. The ACLU called the inquiry a “sham exercise” and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice said the purpose of the commission was to “disenfranchise voters.”
Among the most ambitious elements is an effort that the cross-sector partners are calling “Newark 2020,” the aim of which is to connect 2,020 unemployed Newarkers to work by 2020. According to a recent report from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Newark’s 33% poverty rate among minority populations is nearly double the national average and only 18% of jobs in Newark are held by city residents, half the proportion of that in comparable cities. For their part in increasing access to jobs for Newarkers, Chancellor Cantor and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) Chancellor Brian Strom announced that their institutions combined aim to make 220 local hires.
On Wednesday, the New Jersey ACLU and the Institute of Social Justice wrote letters urging the state to reject the request.
Institute attorney Scott Novakowski said the state can't release that private data, and it shouldn't trust the commission.
"It was created by the president, really, with the goal of perpetuating this myth of pervasive voter fraud," he said.