Press Releases

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice has legal experts on staff who specialize in criminal justice reform, juvenile justice, conditions of confinement and economic justice, with a particular emphasis on New Jersey state policies. To schedule an interview with an ISJ expert, please email Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, Director of Communications, at ewgreenberg@njisj.org or call her at 973-624-9400 Ext. 20. To review the list of experts on staff with ISJ, please click here.


Newark Community Survey to Begin December 1, 2016

Newark, NJ -- Starting December 1, 2016, on behalf of the Independent Monitor, the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP), in conjunction with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ), will begin conducting the random probability based survey. The Consent Decree requires the Independent Monitor to conduct an annual survey to assess Newark residents’ experiences with and perceptions of the NPD and public safety. Starting in mid-January, the survey will be available to any Newark resident who wishes to participate. It will be posted on the Monitor’s website.

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Leading Civil Rights Groups Launch Voter Protection Efforts on Election Day in New Jersey

Questions About or Problems with Voting? Call 866.OUR.VOTE

Newark, New Jersey—To safeguard the voting rights of New Jersey’s voters of color, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and its initiative New Jersey Communities Forward, together with the Garden State Bar Association, NAACP New Jersey State Conference, Latino Action Network, New Jersey Black Issues Convention, Rutgers Law School’s Constitutional Rights Clinic, and the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, launched New Jersey Prepared to Vote 2016.  

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Broad Coalition Joins Forces to Call for Action on Policing and Criminal Justice Reform in New Jersey

Today, a broad coalition of leading New Jersey civil rights, community, and religious leaders “requested that the legislature undertake a comprehensive and inclusive examination of criminal justice reforms needed to positively transform the relationship between police and the residents of New Jersey.”

In the attached letter addressed to the Senate President, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the leaders in both bodies, the coalition explained that “the recent heartbreaking events in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Falcon Heights, Minnesota and Dallas, Texas have heightened the reality that, in New Jersey and on the national level, such a transformation in the relationship between law enforcement and many of the communities they serve is in order.”

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The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice Hosts its 11th Annual Gala and Celebrates Three Honorees for Their Dedication to Advancing Social Justice

Newark, New Jersey — The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice will host its 11th Annual Gala at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on June 7th 2016. This year marks Ryan P. Haygood’s first year as the Institute’s third President and CEO. “During this exhilarating and rewarding time, my vision for moving the Institute forward and deepening the impact of our work has taken shape. It is an honor for me and the Institute team to advance social justice in the way Amy and Alan Lowenstein envisioned when they founded this mighty organization nearly 20 years ago.”

Paulette Brown, the first Black woman to lead the American Bar Association, will receive our inaugural National Social Justice Award. This honor was established to recognize individuals who have powerfully advanced social justice on a national platform.

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WFD Environmental Job Training Graduation 2014

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice hosted a commencement ceremony on December 15th , for 20 graduates from its Environmental Remediation Job Training Program, which prepares residents of the greater Newark area for meaningful employment to support themselves and their families.

Program participants are often low-income, have low literacy levels and have little access to opportunities. Many are returning home after incarceration. The Institute’s Environmental Remediation Job Training Program ensures participants have the skills and knowledge needed for careers in the green economy. 

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Governor Christie Signs Bail Reform and the Opportunity to Compete Act, Moves New Jersey Closer to Justice

TRENTON, NJ – August 11, 2014, 2:00 P.M.  Governor Christie’s signature of Bail Reform (S946) and the Opportunity to Compete Act (A1999) will put New Jersey on the path to abolishing our pretrial “debtors’ prison” and expanding economic opportunity for redeemed individuals.

Senate Bill 946 will revamp a broken system that currently keeps nearly 6,000 people locked up before trial merely because they are unable to afford bail – not because they have been determined to be a danger to the community.  Jerome C. Harris, Jr., Interim President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, said, “It is a shameful injustice that we continue to have systems that punish poverty.  The current system of pretrial release punishes New Jersey citizens of limited economic means by using bail as the sole tool of pretrial release.  S946 will reform the system by requiring that defendants be screened objectively for risk; those who pose no danger will be released, and those who are truly dangerous will be held.”

The importance of comprehensive bail reform is underscored by the story of the Institute’s client, Mustafa, who has two arrests in which the charges were ultimately dismissed.  Even though Mustafa was innocent, he was held for many months before he could make bail, was fired from his job because he could not report to work while in jail, and accrued nearly $10,000 in bail bondsman fees.  S946 will prevent people like Mustafa from losing their jobs and incurring oppressive debt.

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Legislature Passes the Opportunity to Compete Act

PRESS RELEASE June 27, 2014 --Yesterday was a historic day for New Jersey, as both houses of the legislature voted to pass the Opportunity to Compete Act. This bill will allow the estimated one in four New Jersey adults with a criminal record to fairly compete for work based on merit, simply by requiring many employers to wait until after the first interview to ask about an applicant’s criminal background. With the Governor’s anticipated signature, New Jersey will become the thirteenth or fourteenth state to pass such a law, depending on if and when Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signs a pending executive order. 

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Cornell William Brooks Leaves Institute for Social Justice, Jerome C. Harris Named Interim Head

NEWARK, NJ – Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ), has announced he will leave the Institute to become president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Jerome C. Harris, Chief Operating Officer for the Shiloh Community Development Corporation, has been named interim CEO and head of NJISJ.

“The entire NJISJ community congratulates Cornell and sincerely thanks him for his truly distinguished service in promoting social justice in our state,” said Douglas Eakeley, Chairman of the NJISJ Board of Trustees.  “Although we are sad that an individual who has meant so much to our organization and to the residents of this state is moving on, we are proud to have been his home for so many years, and we are fortunate that our Board of Trustees, staff and loyal supporters share an unflagging commitment to do even more as we move forward together.”

 

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