CRIMINAL JUSTICE & MASS INCARCERATION
JCT Workshop on
mental health and substance use March 2 2024
Jersey City Together invites the residents of Jersey City to attend a breakfast workshop, “Assisting Individuals with Mental Health and/or Substance Use Issues in our Community: Where are we now? & Where do we need to go?”.
The workshop will include presentations and breakout sessions on mental health and substance use, and a status report on Jersey City Together’s effort to have the city hire outreach workers to go out on emergency calls with law enforcement officers when an individual has a mental health and/or substance abuse issue.
A resource table will provide materials on services related to the prevention, treatment and long-term recovery for mental health and substance abuse.
The workshop is scheduled for Saturday, March 2, 2024 from 9:30 am to 12:00 noon at the Cinelli Center of Our Lady of Sorrows Church (654 Ocean Avenue-The parking lot is located on Claremont Ave. A light breakfast is provided free of charge. Please register here: RSVP
Update (January, 2024): On March 15th, 2023, over 150 New Jersey Together clergy and community members came together to celebrate the success of the commitment of Hudson County officials to help currently and formerly incarcerated people to clear fines, fees, and outstanding warrants, and more.
Since then, we have been working to expand this campaign statewide. Our newest branch, Essex Together, is building on the success of Jersey City Together. Recently, Essex Together had a significant victory by receiving a proclamation from the Board of County Commissioners pledging to implement our work on reducing fines, fees and outstanding warrants at Essex County Correctional Facility. New Jersey State Department of Corrections Commissioner Victoria Kuhn has agreed to implement the policy to address outstanding warrants in state prisons as well.
Additionally, Essex Together and the Returning Citizens Support Group is working with our New York IAF affiliate Nehemiah Rising to develop affordable housing in Newark. 20% of this housing is to be designated for returning citizens.
COVID-19 Update (4/24): On April 24, 2020, New Jersey Together escalated its campaign to get Gov. Murphy to proactively test people in state prisons & those returning home. As of 4/23, 19 people in prison are dead and the state is claiming only 105 people are infected. (Currently, the only way for someone in prison to be tested is to be sick enough to be transported to an outside hospital.) Get Involved.
COVID-19 Update (May 2020): After pressure in statewide & national press, Gov. Murphy announced that there would be universal testing in Department of Corrections facilities. This testing is continuing & a positive step. But there continues to be delays around furloughs and other actions for those who are eligible.
On March 16th, Jersey City Together & New Jersey Together launched a campaign to address issues related to criminal justice & mass incarceration. This took place after our team listened to more than 500 people who were directly impacted the issue -- in our congregations, through local non-profits and parents' groups, and on the streets.
We heard repeated themes, and conducted further research to identify the scale of the need. Conservatively, more than 50,000 current Jersey City residents have spent time in jail or prison. Across New Jersey, that number is more than 1 million.
As we listened, we heard how issues related to criminal justice and mass incarceration have built a wall that holds back whole communities -- particularly communities of color and low-income communities -- in Jersey City & across New Jersey.
And while there has been progress, it is far from enough.
This wall has been constructed brick by brick by politicians and corporations with power. If we're going to dismantle it, we're going to have to build a different kind of power, to find allies across the state, and to work strategically -- brick by brick -- to dismantle a system of injustice.
To begin our work, we have identified 3 simple actions that could be taken by judges & state officials now that would benefit tens of thousands of New Jerseyans. Check back soon for details.