Prisoner Reentry Institute's NYC Justice Corps Expansion to Provide Multifaceted Services to Low-Income Communities Citywide
New York, NY, August 16, 2012 – The Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in partnership with the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity and the Mayor's Young Men's Initiative, today announced the expansion of the New York City Justice Corps reentry initiative to serve 300 young adults annually in the South Bronx, Jamaica, East New York and Harlem.
"The expansion of the Justice Corps made possible by funding from the Young Men's Initiative is further evidence of the City's commitment to the reintegration of young offenders. With an emphasis on restorative justice and community empowerment, the NYC Justice Corps is transforming the lives of its members and the communities they service," said John Jay College President Jeremy Travis.
"We are thrilled for the expansion of this program into additional neighborhoods," said CEO Executive Director Veronica M. White. "When the NYC Justice Corps pilot began in 2008, it fulfilled a core component of CEO's mission: to help disconnected young adults advance in their lives through innovative and evidence-based programs. With this expansion, the program continues to build upon efforts to connect young adults involved with the criminal justice system with opportunities to build work skills while giving back to their communities."
As the first program in New York City to adopt the national Civic Justice Corps model – an initiative that recruits people with criminal convictions to community service – the goals of the NYC Justice Corps are to reduce poverty and recidivism among young men and women, ages 18-24, who reside in communities with high rates of poverty and criminal justice involvement. The program brings young adults together with their communities to identify and address unmet community needs through meaningful and reparative service.
Since 2008, NYC Justice Corps members have completed more than 70 projects. Beautiful murals, renovated early child centers, and weatherized low-income housing in target communities across the city provide remarkable evidence of the Corps members' work in their communities.
Ann Jacobs, Director of the Prisoner Reentry Institute of John Jay College, said "the distinguished community-based organizations that are expanding the NYC Justice Corps throughout the boroughs combine expertise in the criminal justice system with deep community ties." They are:
- The Phipps Community Development Corporation, a multi-service nonprofit that has operated a Justice Corps program in the South Bronx since 2008, with additional service provided by Youth Represent;
- The Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), which will partner with Safe Space and Youth Represent to serve Jamaica, Queens;
- The Center for Community Alternatives, which will partner with Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation and Youth Represent to serve East New York and the adjacent communities of Bushwick and Brownsville in Brooklyn;
- The Center for Court Innovation, a project of the Fund for the City of New York, which will partner with the Center for Employment Opportunities, Literacy Partners and the College Initiative to serve Central and East Harlem.
The selection of these highly regarded agencies and the expansion to four program sites throughout the city bolster the Bloomberg Administration's ongoing commitment to providing opportunity to young adults and their communities.
NYC Justice Corps members will benefit from internships and education services, followed by job placement. Through this multifaceted program, participants build practical skills, develop positive peer networks and earn the trust and support of their neighbors. As partners with the Corps, communities are stakeholders in the success and reintegration of their young people, and these young adults are provided a path toward higher levels of education, dignified work and meaningful participation in civic life.
The Center for Economic Opportunity
The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) was established by Mayor Bloomberg in 2006 to implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City. Supported by a combination of public and private funds, CEO works with City agencies to design and implement evidence-based initiatives aimed at poverty reduction. CEO is overseeing the implementation and evaluation of most programs within the Young Men's Initiative.
The Young Men's Initiative
The Young Men's Initiative, the nation's boldest and most comprehensive effort to tackle the broad disparities slowing the advancement of black and Latino young men, was announced in August 2011. The action plan will invest $43 million annually to support programs and policies designed to break down barriers to success. For three years, almost half of the funds come from philanthropic contributions. The remainder is tax levy, which continues beyond three years. Programs such as the NYC Justice Corps will connect young adults to educational, employment, and mentoring opportunities across more than a dozen city agencies.
The mission of the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice is to spur innovation and improve practice in the field of reentry by advancing knowledge; translating research into effective policy and service delivery; and fostering effective partnerships between criminal justice and non-criminal justice disciplines. For more information on the PRI, visit their website.
About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu.