News

Amsterdam News Reports on the Institute's Campaign to Close NJ Youth Prisons

The Amsterdam News reports: 

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice recently launched a campaign to close the New Jersey Training School for Boys, known as “Jamesburg,” and the Female Secure Care and Intake Facility, known as “Hayes.” The organization, along with other groups, say the youth prisons are a new form of slavery.

According to NJISJ, the juvenile justice system is plagued by extreme racial disparities. Of the 222 youth who are incarcerated in the state’s three youth prisons, just 13 are white, despite research that shows Black and white youth have similar rates of offending.

June 28, more than 300 people gathered outside of the gate of Jamesburg to launch the campaign. Jamesburg was first opened on the date of the protest 150 years ago in 1867.

“We are lifting our collective voices to transform New Jersey’s youth incarceration system into a community-based system of care,” said Ryan P. Haygood, NJISJ president and CEO. “We must make sure that our youth receive the rehabilitation they need, so that they can mature and grow into responsible adults. That is not happening in the current system.”

Institute's Report Featured in Story on Newark Restaurant Opening

The Star Ledger reports:

Chef Marcus Samuelsson is lending his celebrity cred to downtown Newark's renaissance with a new restaurant in the redeveloped Hahne & Co. building, but details about the high-profile eatery have been scarce -- until now.

The restaurant is expected to open this fall, and the 55-seat eatery will be an entirely new concept called Marcus B&P, an all-day casual restaurant with the food made entirely in-house or sourced locally, Samuelsson tells NJ.com...

NJ Spotlight: Institute Report Featured in Number of the Day

NJ Spotlight's Number of the Day features striking statistics from Senior Counsel Demelza Baer's report, "Bridging the Two Americas: Employment and Economic Opportunity in Newark and Beyond":

Unlike other parts of the country, there is not a job shortage in Newark, according to “Bridging the Two Americas: Employment and Economic Opportunity in Newark and Beyond.” But of Newark’s approximately 136,979 jobs, only 18 percent are held by local residents. And those jobs tend to be low paying or part time with less than desirable working conditions.

Atlanta Black Star: Civil Rights Groups In New Jersey Say Youth Prisons Should Be Abolished

The Atlanta Black Star reports:

“One-hundred and fifty years of youth incarceration is enough,” said Ryan P. Haygood, NJISJ president and CEO, in an announcement about the campaign. “We are lifting our collective voices to transform New Jersey’s youth incarceration system into a community-based system of care.”

Institute's Work Featured in Youth First Newsletter

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 Olitzky: The Jewish Imperative to Fight Youth Incarceration

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...

Newark Alliance: The Business Case for Hiring Locally

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. 

Scott Novakowski: Disband Commission on Election Integrity

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

Ryan P. Haygood writes for the New York Times: Blueprint for a New Newark

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.