Scott Novakowski: Restore Voting Rights to People on Parole and Probation

Scott Novakowski writes in NJ Spotlight:

New Jersey currently bans almost 95,000 people from voting because of a criminal conviction. Over three-quarters of whom — about 70,000 people — have been released from prison and are on parole or probation.

They are living and working in our communities, raising families, and paying taxes. As our recent report with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law noted, New Jersey disfranchises more people living in the community than any other state in the Northeast, and more than Connecticut, Delaware, and New York combined...

Institute Surveys Gubernatorial Candidates on Social Justice Issues

On May 1, at our social justice gubernatorial forum, we asked nine gubernatorial candidates their views on some of the greatest challenges of our time: addressing income inequality; re-imagining criminal justice; building an inclusive democracy; and interrupting systems that deny human dignity and human rights.
The Institute has sent each gubernatorial candidates a copy of our Platform Document, A Social Justice Vision for New Jersey. The Institute also shared with a survey asking for their positions on each of our proposals and asked for the survey to be  returned by June 1. To view the survey, please click here.

Andrea McChristian Talks with Comcast Newsmakers about Juvenile Justice

Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian, author of the report, Ain't I A Child: Bring Our Children Home, speaks with Comcast Newsmakers on racial disparities in New Jersey's Juvenile Justice System:

New Jersey needs to shift away from youth prisons which aren't working for a number of reasons - the extreme racial disparities, the undue expense, the fact that it's not helping public safety.

Retha Onitiri: Youth Prisons Should be Tossed on the 'Dust Heap of History'

Juvenile Justice Campaign Manager Retha Onitiri released this statement on Mother's Day:

"Mother's Day, marked by flowers and homemade cards for some, is now, for hundreds of mothers in our state, a visceral reminder that their children are incarcerated in a youth prison – receiving an adult punishment when they are still children. The Institute and Youth Justice New Jersey are working to ensure that youth prisons are tossed on the 'dust heap of history,' and that we replace this archaic model with community-based programs and, when necessary, secure, child-centered, rehabilitative settings."

Just the Facts: Bridging the Two Americas: Employment & Economic Opportunity in Newark & Beyond

This fact-sheet is adapted from the Institute report, Bridging the Two Americas: Employment & Economic Opportunity in Newark & Beyond.

Just the Facts:

Bridging the Two Americas: Employment & Economic Opportunity in Newark & Beyond 

Racialized Economic Inequality in the United States: There is a record level of economic inequality in the United States right now, but the situation is much worse for people of color, whose economic mobility is so limited as to amount to an economic caste system. 

o   Nationally, about 16 percent of all people live below the federal poverty line, but people of color have a poverty rate two to three times greater than whites.  Three out of every four (74 percent) people of color in the U.S. will be poor at some point during their life, compared to 40 percent of whites.  

o   People of color simply do not experience economic mobility the way that white people do.  Among Black people born in the bottom fifth of the income distribution, half (51 percent) will remain in that bottom quintile at age 40.   By comparison, only one-fourth (23 percent) of whites born in the bottom quintile of the income ladder will remain there by age 40.  


Institute releases "A Social Justice Vision for New Jersey"

On May 2, 2017, the day after the Institute's social justice forum with nine gubernatorial candidates, the Institute released, A Social Justice Vision for New Jersey.

The report details proposals in the areas of Economic Mobility, Criminal Justice Reform, and Civic Engagement.

NJISJ Forum Coverage: Observer Reports on Candidates' Drug Legalization Proposals

Observer reports:

At a debate sponsored by the NAACP and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, former U.S. Ambassador Phil Murphy and state Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) both reiterated their campaign pledges to legalize the drug...

Star Ledger: 9 things we learned from listening to 9 governor candidates on 1 stage

The Star Ledger reports:

With New Jersey's primary election barely a month away, nine of the 11 major party candidates hoping to replace Gov. Chris Christie gathered on Monday night to field questions about how they'd lead the nation's most densely populated state.

Appearing at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center were both Democrats and Republicans, including former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy; former U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Jim Johnson; state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), Tenafly borough council president Mark Zinna, and community activist Bill Brennan.

Republicans including Commissioner Steve Rogers (R-Nutley) and defense aerospace engineer Hirsh Singh were joined by Green Party candidate Rev. Seth Kaper Dale.

NJ Spotlight Highlights Social Justice Issues Raised at NJISJ Forum

New Jersey Spotlight reports:

Ryan Haygood, President of the Institute, said the issue of social justice is very important and cited some statistics as proof. He said the poverty rate for black residents in Newark is “an astonishing 33 percent, more than double the national average for all races.” Newark residents hold only 18 percent of all the jobs in the state’s largest city, he continued, adding that while three quarters of Newark residents are people of color, 60 percent of the city’s workers are white.