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Several Important Racial Justice Bills Passed and Signed into Law in New Jersey

Several Important Racial Justice Bills Passed and Signed into Law in New Jersey

New Legislation Will Help NJ's Young People and Protect Democracy

NEWARK – Governor Murphy on Monday signed into law – and the Legislature passed – several important bills that will promote racial justice, help New Jersey’s young people and expand democracy in the Garden State.  

“During a time when we are seeing unrelenting assaults on racial justice and equity in America, we are encouraged that we are making progress in New Jersey in some important areas,” said Andrea McChristian, Law & Policy Director at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “This movement forward would not happen but for the hard work of advocates across the state showing up when it matters.”

The governor signed into law a bill (S3319/A5507) eliminating oppressive fines and fees for young people caught up in the criminal justice system. Some of these fines and fees were eliminated two years ago; this bill finishes the job by abolishing outstanding fines and fees. A recent report by the Institute’s Camden Youth Council called out the damaging impact of these fines and fees.  

Voting Rights Advocates Respond to Detailed Congressional District Map, Decrying Reduction in Voting Power for Communities of Color in Several Districts

NEWARK – In response to the release of more detailed data regarding the congressional district map certified by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and voting rights advocate Juan Cartagena today expressed concern about the reduction in populations of color in several New Jersey congressional districts.  

In the 8th Congressional District, the Hispanic population of voting age was reduced to under 50%, raising serious concerns under the Voting Rights Act and Supreme Court precedent, given that the Latina/o population currently controls the district. 

In the 12th Congressional District, the Black population was significantly reduced from the current map.  

In the 6th and 12th Congressional Districts, the Asian American population was also reduced, keeping the Asian American community “cracked” into several districts, thereby diluting their power.  

Institute to Host Community Conversation about Newark Police Division’s Compliance with Consent Decree

NEWARK, NJ -- The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice will host a virtual conversation with Newark Police Division (NPD) Independent Monitor Peter Harvey on Thursday,  

Dec. 9at 6 p.m. about the findings of his 16th, 17th and 18th Quarterly Reports on the Police Division’s compliance with a 2016 consent decree. 

Community members are encouraged to attend and participate in the conversation. 

 

WHAT: Conversation with NPD Independent Monitor on compliance status of consent decree 

WHERE: Register for online forum at www.bit.ly/IndependentMonitorForum 

WHEN: Dec. 9, 2021 @6-8 p.m. EST 

Diverse Group of Allied Organizations to Release Racial Equity Congressional Redistricting Map at Virtual Press Conference on Tuesday

NEWARK – A coalition of racial justice organizations will hold a virtual press conference on Tuesday to present its proposed congressional redistricting map (“the Racial Equity Map”) that prioritizes racial equity and fair representation for communities with shared interests. The Racial Equity Map, which was submitted to the Congressional Redistricting Commission on Sunday, includes six people of color majority districts.

 Congressional lines are redrawn every ten years based on the latest Census data.

Institute Releases Repairing the Cracks: How New Jersey Can Restore Black & Brown Communities Ravaged by COVID-19 and Systemic Racism

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice today released Repairing the Cracks: How New Jersey Can Restore Black & Brown Communities Ravaged by COVID-19 and Systemic Racism

The new report explores the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and other communities of color in the Garden State, and proposes policies designed to not only address the immediate harm caused by the public health crisis but also create a stronger, more equitable New Jersey going forward.

“Tragically, it is not surprising that New Jersey’s Black and other communities of color have suffered most from the pandemic, given the deep cracks of structural racism in New Jersey’s foundation,” said Andrea McChristian, Law & Policy Director at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “Under the stress of a devastating public health crisis, those cracks were bound to erupt into earthquakes.”

Responding to Assault Charge at Youth Prison, Institute Renews Call for Closure and Community-Based Programming for Youth People

Responding to Assault Charge at Youth Prison, Institute Renews Call for Closure and Community-Based Programming for Youth People

Prison Guard Charged with Breaking Wrist of Handcuffed Youth Without Cause

NEWARK – In response to charges of physical violence by a youth prison guard against an incarcerated young person, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice condemned the abuse and renewed its call for the closure of New Jersey’s three youth prisons: Jamesburg, Hayes and the Juvenile Medium Security Facility (JMSF), where the incident occurred.

“Violence against incarcerated youth is abhorrent and unacceptable,” stated Yannick Wood, Director of the Criminal Justice Reform Program at the Institute. “It reflects the broken condition of New Jersey’s overfunded and antiquated youth prisons, which are plagued by structural racism, emotional harm and even physical violence.”

Institute and League of Women Voters Urge New Jersey Apportionment Commission to Begin Redistricting Process Now

Institute and League of Women Voters Urge New Jersey Apportionment Commission to Begin Redistricting Process Now

Groups Say Law and Public Policy Dictate that August is the “Trigger Date” for Commission to Begin “Conducting its Business”

NEWARK – The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey (the “Groups”) sent a letter  to the New Jersey Apportionment Commission with their analysis that the August release of the Census data was the “trigger date” to begin the process for state legislative redistricting and urging them to begin the process now. 

The Groups argue that despite some uncertainty regarding the trigger date, beginning the process at this time is dictated by the clear language of the recent constitutional amendment and public policy. A copy of the letter can be found here.

“In order for the redrawing of our district maps to be fair and representative of the diverse communities in New Jersey, there must be a robust and deliberate inclusion of public education and input, including public hearings,” said the Groups. “This requires getting started as soon as possible as dictated under current law and with regard to public policy.”

Fair Districts NJ Welcomes Census Data Release & Calls for Public Redistricting Process

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Fair Districts New Jersey Welcomes Release of Official Census Data and Calls for a Public Redistricting Process

TRENTON, NJ – The U.S. Census Bureau today has released the official 2020 Census data needed to redraw congressional, legislative, and other election districts. The redistricting process determines whether all New Jersey communities will receive the representation and resources they deserve over the next ten years.

The Fair Districts New Jersey coalition calls on New Jersey’s Apportionment and Redistricting Commissions to each schedule at least 25 public hearings and prioritize public input in the mapmaking process.

“When maps are drawn with public input, the process better reflects the interests of our diverse communities,” said Philip Hensley, Democracy Policy Analyst, League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “Now that New Jersey has the necessary data needed to begin mapmaking, Fair Districts is looking forward to working with the Commissions and independent members to both support public engagement and solicit community input.”

 

Transformative Youth Justice Bill Signed into Law Today

Transformative Youth Justice Bill Signed into Law Today 

Legislation Creates Pilot Program for Restorative Justice Programs for Young People 

 

NEWARK -- Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver today, on behalf of the Murphy administration, signed into law the Restorative and Transformative Justice for Youths and Communities Pilot Program bill (A4663/S2924). 

With a two-year pilot program in Newark, Camden, Paterson and Trenton, four cities disproportionately impacted by youth incarceration, this legislation will move over $8 million from our antiquated and ineffective youth incarceration system toward the proven practice of restorative justice – an approach that focuses on building healthy relationships and resolving conflicts in communities to decrease youth involvement in the youth justice system. 

TOMORROW: Transformative Restorative Justice Bill to be Signed into Law

 

TOMORROW: Transformative Restorative Justice Bill to be Signed into Law

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

August 10, 2021

CONTACT:

Laurie Beacham, 917.847.6000 or [email protected]

 

NEWARK -- On Wednesday, August 11, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, on behalf of the Murphy administration, will sign into law the Restorative and Transformative Justice for Youths and Communities Pilot Program bill (A4663/S2924).

With a two-year pilot program in Newark, Camden, Paterson and Trenton, four cities disproportionately impacted by youth incarceration, this legislation will move over $8 million from our antiquated and ineffective youth incarceration system toward the proven practice of restorative justice – an approach that focuses on building healthy relationships and resolving conflicts in communities to decrease youth involvement in the youth justice system.