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Attorney General Grewal Issues Directive to Further Transform State’s Juvenile Justice System

 

Attorney General Grewal Issues Directive to Further Transform State’s Juvenile Justice System 

 

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today issued a statewide directive to law enforcement establishing policies, practices, and procedures to further juvenile justice reform by diverting juveniles away from law enforcement and toward social or familial support whenever possible consistent with public safety and welfare. 

Over the past two decades, New Jersey has emerged as a national leader in juvenile justice reform.  Since 2003, the year before New Jersey implemented a groundbreaking program known as the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), the total number of juveniles in detention per year has dropped by 80 percent, from about 12,000 to less than 2,500, with youth of color accounting for almost 90 percent of the decline. Further, youth who are placed in detention alternative programs in lieu of detention receive supervision and support in their communities while awaiting the outcome of their case in court. These reforms have not only reduced the number of juveniles sent to secure detention, but resulted in deep and dramatic systemic changes. The decline in numbers has allowed multiple detention centers to merge their operations and share services. At the start of JDAI, there were 17 county-operated detention centers in New Jersey; today there are seven. The reduction in the number of juveniles in pretrial detention has also led to a reduction in the number of juveniles committed to state custody at sentencing. Directive 2020-12 is intended to build upon these successes and push forward the next phase of New Jersey’s Juvenile Justice Reform efforts. 

Institute to Honor Nikole Hannah-Jones and Others at 15th Annual Gala on Nov. 10

 

 

Institute to Honor Nikole Hannah-Jones and Others at 15th Annual Gala on Nov. 10

Virtual Event Will be Free and Open to All

 

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice will hold its 15th Annual Gala on Tuesday, November 10 at 6 pm. 

The virtual event, which is free and open to all, will be livestreamed on the Institute’s website as well as on Facebook Live @NJISJ, and is themed Community Over Chaos, harkening back to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s admonition that “we are confronted with the fierce urgency of now … this may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos or community.”

“In these extraordinary times of national chaos, it is more important than ever that New Jersey double down on community and democracy,” added Haygood. “At this powerful event, we will celebrate our achievements we have made so far in the pursuit of social and racial justice, and commit to much work ahead.”

Institute Releases Beyond the Hashtag: Making Black Lives Matter by Closing JMSF and Building a Community-Based System of Care

 

 

Institute Releases Beyond the Hashtag: Making Black Lives Matter by Closing JMSF and Building a Community-Based System of Care

Report Proposes Radical Transformation of Youth Justice in New Jersey

 

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today released Beyond the Hashtag: Making Black Lives Matter by Closing JMSF and Building a Community-Based System of Care, a report arguing for the closure of the Juvenile Medium Security Facility (JMSF) and New Jersey’s two other youth prisons and, instead of incarceration, the development of a well-resourced community-based system of care that provides intensive treatment and services for young people to keep them out of the criminal justice system. A pdf of the report can be found here.

“It is time for New Jersey to go beyond the hashtag and radically transform its youth justice system,” said Andrea McChristian, primary author of Beyond the Hashtag. “Our youth prison system, including JMSF, is a harmful relic from generations past. Especially in these times, it is clearer than ever that we should focus on building up our kids, not building prisons for them.”

NJ Public Health Credits Law Signed, Setting National Standard for COVID-19 in Prisons

 

Gov. Murphy signed into law S2519/A4235, which lets people nearing end of prison sentences go home months early

TRENTON – In a victory for racial justice and public health, Gov. Murphy on Oct. 19 signed into law S2519/A4235, championed by Senator Nellie Pou and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, to save lives from the COVID-19 pandemic. The law, which is the first of its kind in the United States, implements public health emergency credits that will allow for the early release of incarcerated people nearing the end of their sentences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy sets a standard for other states as infections rate climb nationally, especially in prisons, which are known as Petri dishes for viral spread.

“This law unfortunately comes too late to save my son Rory, who died of COVID-19 just weeks before he was to come home – but, thankfully, it can save other mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and countless loved ones the heartbreak I have been through from knowing my child’s death could have been prevented. I thank the Legislature and Gov. Murphy for paying tribute to my beautiful son’s life by making sure fewer lives are lost to this virus,” said Bernice Ferguson, whose son Rory Price died of COVID-19 in March.

Court Ruling Protects NJ Voters Against Trump Lawsuit

 

 

Federal Judge Blocks Trump Campaign Attempt to Undermine New Jersey’s Plan for Safe & Robust Election

 

TRENTON, NJ—A federal judge ruled on Tuesday in Trump v. Murphy that election provisions allowing election officials to begin canvassing vote-by-mail ballots 10 days before Election Day and allowing ballots without a postmark to be counted if received within 48 hours of the election do not violate federal law. The League of Women Voters and the NAACP New Jersey State Conference were granted leave to intervene in the case on behalf of voters last month. The groups are represented by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, Campaign Legal Center and DLA Piper.

More information about the case can be found here

Video Release: Danny Devito Tells NJ How to Vote

 

 

INSTITUTE AND PARTNERS RELEASE ANIMATED VIDEO TO EDUCATE VOTERS ABOUT PAPER BALLOT VOTING

New Jersey’s Danny DeVito Narrates

 

TRENTON, NJ – With a little help from Danny DeVito, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and a diverse group of non-profit organizations have created a fresh way to educate New Jerseyans about the importance of voting and how to do it safely and effectively during COVID-19. The coalition has created a short non-partisan animated video for viewers that clearly outlines how to vote in this election - how to fill out a paper ballot, where to place your signature, and where and how to deliver your vote to ensure it’s received. There is also a Spanish version of the video for New Jersey registered voters who speak Spanish as a first language to help make sure they have equal access to the information they need to vote.

"We are living in extraordinary times, facing challenges we haven’t faced before – especially for communities of color who have been ravaged by the current pandemic," said Henal Patel, Director of the Democracy & Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. "Like everything else, voting looks different this year. But as we face one of the most urgent elections of our lifetimes, it's more important than ever that we get it right. We hope this video proves helpful for New Jerseyans across the state who want to make sure their voices are heard."

Institute and Partners Release Post-Election Assessment from 2020 Primary

 

 

Report Details What Worked, What Didn’t and What Should be Fixed for Upcoming Elections

 

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, the NAACP New Jersey State Conference and the League of Women Voters of NJ (the “groups”) today released 2020 Primary Post-Election Assessment and Recommendations for Future Elections.

 

As the country and New Jersey look forward to one of the most urgent elections in our lifetimes, this report details what went well in New Jersey’s July primary election, what issues arose and recommendations for upcoming elections – including in November.

 

“This is one of the most important election years in a generation. In the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever that we have full access to the democratic process,” said the groups in its assessment. “But like every other aspect of our lives, the pandemic has led to a marked change in the voting process, including the manner in which we cast our votes.”

 

Trump’s Challenge to New Jersey’s Plan for Vote-by-Mail Threatens Voting Rights, Advocacy Groups Say in New Legal Filing

 

 

Trump’s Challenge to New Jersey’s Plan for Vote-by-Mail Threatens Voting Rights, Advocacy Groups Say in New Legal Filing

 

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, on behalf of clients NAACP-New Jersey and League of Women Voters New Jersey, filed a motion late Monday to intervene in a lawsuit brought by President Trump, which challenges New Jersey’s plan to send all active registered voters a vote-by-mail ballot during the pandemic. The parties argue that changing New Jersey’s current voting plan could cause widespread voter confusion, hinder voters’ access to voting by mail during a pandemic which might deter people from voting in person, and undermine voters’ ability to vote in a safe and effective manner.

“Voters in New Jersey are relying on receiving their absentee ballots automatically in the mail. Altering course at this time could prevent voters from being able to participate in the presidential election,” said Paul Smith, Vice President, Litigation and Strategy at Campaign Legal Center (CLC). “Mail voting is safe and secure. The only people who can vote by mail or absentee are voters who have verified their eligibility and identity with an election official. Because of COVID-19, it is important that anybody who is concerned about their health be able to vote by absentee ballot to encourage their participation and keep them safe.”

Plaintiffs in NJ Lawsuit Establishing Fair Ballot Signature Match Process Applaud Ballot Cure Act

 

 

Plaintiffs in NJ Lawsuit Establishing Fair Ballot Signature Match Process Applaud Ballot Cure Act

Bill Signed by Governor Codifies and Strengthens Lawsuit Resolution

 

NEWARK— Plaintiffs and their counsel in the LWV New Jersey v. Way lawsuit today applauded the New Jersey legislature for passing, and Gov. Phil Murphy for signing, the Ballot Cure Act (A4276), establishing a notice and cure process for mail-in and provisional ballots in New Jersey for future elections. The bill was signed by the Governor late Friday and codifies into law provisions from the lawsuit settlement as well as other voter protections advocated for by the parties.

Institute Responds to Gov. Murphy’s Budget Address

 

 

Institute Responds to Gov. Murphy’s Budget Address

 

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Murphy’s budget address:

“There is much to be encouraged by in the budget proposal announced by Gov. Murphy today.

"We are heartened that Governor Murphy is investing $5 million toward early voting. It is more important than ever to invest in broadening and strengthening our democracy. Early voting – which we have long called for – will do just that.