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.


New Jersey Mayors on The New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act: “Let’s Get Specific”

PRINCETON, NJ – May 14, 2014, 12:30 P.M.

On May 14, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert led a coalition of Mayors in calling on the New Jersey Legislature to pass the Opportunity to Compete Act (S1484/A1999), not simply to express their enthusiastic support for the bill, but to be specific about their beliefs of what it means to truly give everyone a fair opportunity to compete for work. The event received press in The Times of TrentonThe Princeton SunThe Princeton Packet, and Princeton Patch.

Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert spoke to the wide ranging impact of overly broad criminal record screening policies: “Currently 1 in 4 American adults have criminal records, and 1 in 3 young people will be arrested by the age of 23. Like every other community, Princeton has residents who have been convicted of crimes and have paid their debt to society, but are now finding it nearly impossible to find a job.”

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New Jersey Faith Leaders Endorse The Opportunity to Compete Act: “Fulfilling Our Moral Duty to Foster Redemption”

SOMERSET, NJ  – April 24, 2014, 1:00 P.M. On April 24, 2014, Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, convened over forty faith leaders from across the State of New Jersey – from Camden to Short Hills –  to present a public show of support for the Opportunity to Compete Act (S1484/A1999). Given the Governor’s public statement on April 18 that he is working with the legislative sponsors on this bill, and with Senate and Assembly Committee votes anticipated in late May and floor votes in June, the convening carried a particular moral urgency.

Pastor Soaries acknowledged the diverse presence of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy, saying, “We are here today as faith leaders from various traditions to support the Opportunity to Compete Act. We may not all meet on the same day, we may not all have the same name for God, but on this issue we are united.”

 

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New Jersey Mayors Endorse the Opportunity to Compete Act

JERSEY CITY, NJ – December 4, 2013, 9:00 A.M.

This morning, New Jersey Mayors from across the state gathered at City Hall in Jersey City to express their enthusiastic support for the New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act (S2586)(“Ban the Box”) in advance of the New Jersey Legislature’s anticipated action on the bill this month. Press coverage of the event can be found here.

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Ban the Box Rally Press Release

Newark, NJ- April 26, 2013. Ban the Box NJ, a statewide grassroots campaign advocating for the passage of the New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act, will host a rally on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 1:00 PM on the front steps of the State House in Trenton, New Jersey.

The New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act makes the job application process fairer for all New Jerseyans by moving inquiries into a candidate's criminal background to after a candidate has been interviewed and offered a conditional offer of employment. By making the job process fairer, the Act also increases public

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safety and decreases government spending on corrections by reducing the number of individuals cycling through the criminal justice system. The bill also improves the economy by giving more New Jerseyans the ability to earn an income to stimulate the economy.

 

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NJISJ Announces Final Metro Newark Brownfields Training Program Graduation

NEWARK, NJ- March 21, 2013. New Jersey Institute for Social Justice is pleased to announce the graduation of its fourth Metro Newark Brownfields Training Program class to be held on March 21 at 6pm at PSE&G Building in downtown Newark. Twenty-one Newark and Essex County residents have completed this pre-apprenticeship program and are now prepared to move on to promising careers in environmental remediation.

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Sweeney on Ban the Box: "Everyone deserves a second chance"

New Jersey Senate Democrats release a press release in support of Ban the Box legislation:

 Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today regarding “Ban the Box” legislation: "In my job as a union leader, I have seen firsthand how current law can have a devastating impact on those who are simply trying to reenter the workforce. People should not be, in essence, automatically removed from contention because of previous misdoings. Everyone deserves a second chance. I appreciate Senators Cunningham, Ruiz and Lesniak's advocacy and look forward to working with them on this issue." 

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NJISJ Press Release: New Legislation Opens Opportunity to Compete for Employment

NEWARK, NJ- February 7, 2013. The state of New Jersey will soon be considering The New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act, commonly referred to as Ban the Box, which takes a major step toward leveling the playing field for all job applicants by eliminating “the box” on an application that asks job candidates to disclose their criminal history. Criminal history inquiries would, however, merely be delayed until later in the hiring process to encourage employers to focus on the candidate’s qualifications, rather than solely on past mistakes. While this bill limits inquiries about criminal history on the initial job application, it does not prevent employers from conducting background checks or using criminal history information when appropriate or when mandated by law. Over the past fifteen years, 49 jurisdictions have enacted Ban the Box policies, including the states of Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Mexico.

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Newark Passes Comprehensive Ban the Box Ordinance

On September 19th, the City of Newark took a major step toward leveling the playing field for all job applicants by passing the most comprehensive Ban the Box ordinance in the country. Councilmember Ron C. Rice, Jr. sponsored the ordinance, which was drafted in close consultation with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (“NJISJ”) Justice Alliance. Major cities, including Philadelphia and San Francisco have passed similar laws, as well as several states (Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico and Connecticut. (read more)

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