Times of Trenton Editorial Board: One ancient law is stopping thousands of people from voting

The Times of Trenton Editorial Board writes

The current ban "remains a moral stain on our state," says Ryan Haygood, president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, which recently released a report noting that more than half of those disenfranchised here - about 47,400 people - are African-Americans.

The Legislative Black Caucus has been advocating for the change for years, and now momentum seems to be building in its favor...

Many people believe that a convicted murderer or a rapist forfeits the right to take part in the democratic process. Or that their lack of wisdom or judgment should make such felons ineligible to cast a ballot.

But the rights of citizenship still pertain, even to those behind bars. Furthermore, judgment and wisdom have never been prerequisites to voting.

Burlington County Times: Group seeks to make use of former boarding school in Bordentown Township

The Burlington County Times reports:

The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice lays out its vision in a report released last week called “Bring Our Children Home: A Prison-to-School Pipeline” that calls for the closing of both Hayes and the nearby Juvenile Medium Security Facility, which is considered the state’s most secure youth detention facility for boys, and the reopening of the Bordentown School. It also calls for a statewide study of disciplinary actions and policies in schools, and how they may contribute to the racial disparity among black and white students in youth prisons.

According to the report, black students in New Jersey are four times more likely than white students to receive out-of-school suspensions and are twice as likely to receive expulsions, even though white and black students commit most offenses at similar rates.

Similarly, the report found that while black students make up about 16 percent of the total enrollment in New Jersey schools, they make up about 34 percent of school-related arrests and just over 31 percent of law enforcement referrals.

The racial disparity was even greater among girls, with black girls accounting for over 50 percent of out-of-school suspensions by female students, 30 percent of expulsions and nearly 38 percent of in-school arrests.

1844NoMore: Media Round-Up

On February 26, 2018, historic legislation was introduced to restore the right to people in prison, on parole, and on probation. Elected officials and eighty organizations joined the Institute's call to say: We are 1844 no more. Check out the media round-up below and the photo gallery here

Wall Street Journal 

Huffington Post

NJ Spotlight

NJ 101.5

Star Ledger

CBS Philly

Insider NJ




Burlington County Times




The Trentonian Highlights Youth Justice Art and Video Exhibit reports

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and coLAB Arts have collaborated on an art program and display with incarcerated youth entitled “150 Years is Enough” in conjunction with the Institute’s same-named campaign that seeks to transform the youth justice system. The exhibit was shared on Feb. 20 at the State House in Trenton but also can be seen at New Jersey youth involved in the juvenile or criminal justice systems worked with coLAB Arts, an arts organization based in New Brunswick, for several weeks to create the pieces. The campaign aims to close youth prisons and invest in a community-based system of care. 

Amsterdam News: ‘Bring Our Children Home’: Lawmakers, advocates call for closure of New Jersey girls’ prison

Amsterdam News reports:

Wednesday, Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian released her report, “Bring Our Children Home: A Prison-to-School Pipeline for New Jersey’s Youth,” which details the transformation of the Bordentown campus, as well as the modern-day, devastating impact of the school-to-prison pipeline on New Jersey’s youth of color.

According to the report, over the 2013-2014 school year, although Black girls made up only 16.2 percent of female students in New Jersey, they made up an estimated half of girls receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions, 30.2 percent of girls receiving expulsions with or without educational services, 37.6 percent of girls subjected to school-related arrests and 33.9 percent of girls referred to law enforcement...

“It is imperative that we rebuild our youth justice system to be transformative and prioritize rehabilitation,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. “The solutions to reform our criminal justice system must begin with affirming and preserving the humanity of our children. By closing down Hayes we are shutting one of the revolving doors of recidivism and recommitting ourselves to community uplift and support of our youth to help them thrive into adulthood.”

NJTV: Rutgers-Newark Establishes New Center to Confront Racism

NJTV reports:

“I think if this country needs anything, it needs at this moment more truth, it needs more racial healing and it certainly needs more transformation. The work that we do at the Institute for Social Justice really thinks about how, to the mayor’s point, how to transform systems that advance racial inequality,” said president and CEO of the institute, Ryan Haygood.

National Crittenton Features Andrea McChristian's Report in Newsletter

National Crittenton's monthly newsletter, Centering Girls in Systems Change, highlights Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian's new report, Bring Our Children Home: A Prison-to-School Pipeline for New Jersey’s Youth:

new publication from New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s Andrea McChristian reports “two-thirds of [New Jersey’s] incarcerated girls have been involved with both the child welfare system and the youth justice system, and all of them have a mental health diagnosis.”

TAPintoNewark: Rutgers University-Newark launches Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center

TAPintoNewark reports:

President and CEO of the NJIT Institute for Social Justice Ryan Haygood said the time is ripe for change and social justice.

"If we ever needed truth, racial healing, and transformation, we need it in abundance now," Haygood said. "That's what the TRHT Campus Center will help bring to our city and state more broadly. This is a difficult national moment, to be sure. And change, resistance, and social justice will occur from the ground up, starting on our campuses in our communities."

Andrea McChristian's Report Featured as NJ Spotlight's Number of the Day

NJ Spotlight reports:

Although black students make up 16 percent of total school enrollment in New Jersey, they were 43.7 percent of those who received one or more out-of-school suspensions during the 2013-2014 school year, according to a new report.

The report, "Bring Our Children Home: A Prison-to-School Pipeline for New Jersey's Youth," released on Wednesday by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, shows that black students are disproportionately represented in numerous types of disciplinary actions reported to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. For instance, the report found that African-American students made up 35.3 percent of students getting an in-school suspension, 37 percent of those expelled, 34.5 percent of school-related arrests, and 31.4 percent of referrals to law enforcement.

"These racial disparities do not reflect greater culpability of black children than their white peers, as black and white youth commit most offenses at similar rates," said Andrea McChristian, the primary author of the report and the institute's associate counsel. "Rather, these disparities exist, in part, because of our schools' inability to see black children as children. Our new youth justice system must view all children as children, and provide them with the grace, compassion, and support they need."

101.5: NJ spends $250k per juvenile inmate - turn jail into school, report says

101.5 reports:

"Youth incarceration is financially wasteful," said report author Andrea McChristian on a call with reporters. "In addition, our system of youth incarceration perpetuates racial disparities."

A black child in New Jersey, the report notes, is at least 30 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white child, even though children of both races commit most offenses at about the same rate.

The state spends $250,000 each year per child to "maintain this broken system of incarceration," the Institute says.

"When I think, $250,000 — my goodness," said state Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex), who also participated in the teleconference. "What could we do with that money if it were focused in a more positive way?"