All students working in P2PH participate in active research and advocacy projects part of the Academy of Public Health and Criminal Justice at John Jay College, the research arm of the From Punishment to Public Health. These students receive faculty oversight and are assigned to collaborative projects involving one or more of the program affiliates in NYC communities, public agencies, and academic institutions.
1) Campaign supporting the Release of Aging People in Prison (RAPP). The RAPP Campaign works to reduce the number of elderly and infirm people in New York State prisons. The number of people over age 50 in New York State has risen 84% since 2000; it now exceeds 9,000—more than 17% of the total incarcerated population. This program has been working with Service Corps students for the last year and will continue to expand their role in developing a strategy to engage local community boards to raise awareness of these issues and draft profiles of aging prisoners to show their stories.
2) Reentry Mapping with Smartphone Application. The Academy is currently working with a Harlem-based program serving juvenile justice populations to design a phone app their clients could access to identify resources during the initial stages of reentry. CUNY Service Corps students compiled spreadsheets of community resources and worked with a faculty member and student from John Jay’s Computer Science Department to build the app and pilot its use in the program. Continuation of this project will allow for greater tailoring of the phone app to meet the expressed needs of clients accessing the beta version, as well as a geographic expansion to other areas of the city with high volumes of juvenile reentry populations.
3) Evaluation of Citywide Drug Court and Mental Health Court Diversion Program. P2PH is working to improve the evaluation capacity at a local service provider that diverts drug addicted and mentally ill offenders from the criminal justice system. CSC students will have a particular focus on linking various location-based data sets together as a means of making statements about citywide impact. Where possible, CSC students will assist in providing technical assistance to standardize data input and tracking to understand impacts on recidivism and relapse.
4) City-wide Reentry and Resource Mapping. P2PH is working to build relationships with key city and state agencies to assemble a web of data sharing agreements and facilitate access to important data sets that can be leveraged in productive and forward-looking ways. As part of this plan we will work with CUNY Service Corps students to build their skills in understanding prison populations and re-entry issues and the uses of community resources to help these populations. Matching return-location trends with the availability of strong resources will inform current and future investment discussions at the city and state level. These positions would be a good opportunity for students with educational and career goals in criminal justice, public health, social work, medicine, psychology, law or related professional fields.
5) Research on Gun Violence and GIS Mapping. The Academy is working with Dr. Chris Herrmann to use mapping of past shootings to address the gun violence problem in New York City. This project will expose students to an NYPD database for reports of firearm use and will teach students how to map data points using GIS software. GIS mapping is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, and manage all types of spatial or geographical data. Within this process, CUNY Service Corps members will learn the preliminary steps of GIS mapping, including gathering data and storing it in Microsoft Excel, plotting exact coordinates, and mapping out points through the GIS system.
CUNY Service Corps students meet regularly for individual and group supervision on their substantive projects and the general educational and research work of the Academy. Corps students also help with the organization and planning of various Academy public events, and participate in related community service activities with member programs. All Academy/Corps members are supervised and mentored by John Jay College faculty and by community program staff. Course credit for this work is negotiable for interested students. In addition to their individual placement duties and activities, Corps students are spokespersons for their assigned programs and specific research topics for the Academy.