NJ Seeks to Ease Transition for Former Inmates With Prison Reforms's Ashley Balcerzak Reports

There's an effort underway to reduce recidivism in New Jersey.

On one hand, Assembly leaders are advancing a handful of criminal justice bills that among other things, create a road map of what to do after released, restore voting rights to some and provide student aid options in prison. 

"People make mistakes, serve time and then leave incarceration," said Sen. Sandra Cunningham, D-Hudson, a sponsor of many of the companion bills in the Senate. "That’s the time that you should be able to get into a position to change your life. But let's face it, a lot of the time they get out and can't support themselves and their families and will do the same thing and go back to prison. These bills are designed to give those people a foot up."

Nonprofits, City Leaders Take Stock of Newark’s Racial Wealth Gap and How to Improve's M.E. Cagnassola Reports

NEWARK, NJ — Addressing a room full of the city’s business professionals and executives from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka held nothing back as he joined in remarks at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s latest roundtable discussion on Newark’s racial wealth gap, Becoming a Model City. 

“We all know we have a lot of data, and we’ve probably had this data forever. It’s not different, the people who are presenting that data are different,” he said. “It’s been steady for 50 years: We have been poor in this city since we got here. The question becomes, what do we do with this information?”

Apprenticeships can help those who see the American Dream slipping away | Opinion



Senior Counsel Jayne Johnson, Esq. writes for

New Jersey has the shameful distinction of being home to more than a dozen of the wealthiest communities in the country, while ranking 12th highest in the nation for income inequality, according to 2012-2016 U.S. Census data. Indeed, in contrast to the prosperity of many New Jersey communities, about four-in-10 households in the Garden State live month-to-month —unable to afford basic necessities including rent, groceries, health care, transportation and child care.

Black Caucus Introduces Bill Calling for Task Force on Slavery Reparations

NJ Spotlight's Colleen O'Dea Reports

Saying the effects of slavery continue to harm African Americans today, members of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus have announced legislation to create a task force on how the state can make reparations to its black residents.

“For me, this legislation is not about a southern-rooted entity of slavery, but about the harms and the slavery codes that impacted New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Passaic), a caucus co-chair and co-sponsor of the bill introduced Thursday.

Legislative Black Caucus to Introduce the ‘New Jersey Reparations Task Force’

Insider NJ Reports

Trenton - Senator Ronald Rice, Senator Sandra B. Cunningham, Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter, Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake and the Legislative Black Caucus will hold a press conference to introduce legislation, which would establish the “New Jersey Reparations Task Force”. The legislators will be joined by several advocacy groups including the NAACP, the New Jersey Institute For Social Justice, and the New Jersey Black Issues Convention.

Risked Your Life For Our Democracy? You Should Be Able to Vote. | Opinion



Democracy and Justice Fellow Ron Pierce writes with Ronald L. Rice

Life-long New Jersey resident Daryle Pitts served in Vietnam as a combat marine and participated in 25 long range reconnaissance missions and 19 major operations, including the Tet counter-offensive. He was decorated for valor and gallantry and was honored with the Purple Heart for a gunshot wound received during combat. He is now 70 years old and has PTSD and Parkinson’s disease from exposure to Agent Orange.

It is Daryle Pitts and other veterans whom we acknowledge today for their service to our nation – and for putting their lives on the line to protect our democracy.

LBC to Introduce Legislation Creating Reparations Task Force

New Jersey Globe's Nikita Biryukov Reports

The Legislative Black Caucus will introduce legislation creating the New Jersey Reparations Task Force Thursday.

The bill will be introduced by State Sens. Ron Rice and Sandra Cunning and Assemblywomen Shavonda Sumter and Britnee Timberlake, along with other members of the LBC and advocacy groups, including the NAACP, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, and the New Jersey Black Issues Convention.

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice to Join Legislators in Trenton for Introduction of Reparations Legislation

The Newark Times' Tehsuan Glover Reports

On Thursday, November 14, at 2 PMthe New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and its partners (Rutgers Inclusion ProjectNew Jersey Black Issues ConventionNAACP New Jersey State ConferenceSalvation and Social JusticeAssociation of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey; and Fair Share Housing Center) will join legislators at the State House in Trenton for the introduction of legislation to create a Reparative Justice Task Force in New Jersey.

The Task Force will focus on repairing structural racism in New Jersey that can be traced back to slavery in the state and around the country, and recommend targeted policies and investments in Black communities that will address the lasting damage of America’s – and New Jersey’s – original sin.

Wake Up, Lawmakers: There’s Time to Restore Felon Voting Rights During Lame Duck | Editorial

Star-Ledger Editorial Board Reports
There are some big-ticket items that must be addressed during the lame duck legislative session, including adult-use marijuana, business tax incentive programs, and water infrastructure.

Report: Newark’s Renaissance Presents a Tale of Two Cities

NJ TV's Brenda Flanagan Reports

A new report shows that, despite Newark’s ongoing renaissance as a corporate and cultural hub, the new wealth is not, for the most part, flowing to much of its population — the communities of color that make up the majority of city residents.

The report, “Racial Wealth Divide in Newark,” was the subject of a panel discussion Thursday at the Prudential Center comprising city officials, advocates and the groups behind the report —Prosperity Now, which authored the study, the non-profit New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Prudential, the Newark-based insurance and financial company.