Historic Harlem Court House

The Harlem Community Justice Center's Reentry Services are located in East Harlem

2013 Reentry Graduation starts with a song

The choir started off the celebration this year at the Reentry Court Graduation

Family Reentry Summer Celebration

During the summer, we host a block party and celebration for Reentry clients and their families

Reentry Graduation

Young man thanks his Parole Officer for keeping him on track

Harlem Reentry Graduation

Families join to celebrate the accomplishments of graduates

Apr 7, 2014

The Myth of the "Super Predator"

This NY Times video and article should serve as a stark reminder of how criminal justice policy can go very wrong with terrible consequences. Predictions of "super predator" juveniles in the early 1990s led immediately to a cultural, political and legal firestorm that sucked millions of youth into the justice system. It was based on poor social science that joined up with American's existing racial caste system to further fuel mass incarceration primarily on the back of youth of color.

Jan 8, 2014

Improving Police-Community Relations

New York City has a new mayor and a new police commissioner, but an old problem: How to bridge the divide between police and communities of color. With crime at historic lows in New York City there is an opportunity to re-examine effective approaches to address this problem. Achieving greater public trust of law enforcement in communities of color is not just a feel good exercise. If we are serious about preventing crime and reducing disparities in crime we need respectful and productive relationships between police and the communities they serve. When communities have a voice in how laws are made and enforced they are in a better position to prevent crime. 

A publication by the COPS Office at the U.S Department of Justice highlights ways to promote police legitimacy and racial reconciliation. Click here to access the PDF.   

Dec 10, 2013

The Harlem Justice Corps Combines Education with Community Service for Justice-Involved Young People

Check out this podcast about our Harlem Justice Corps program. Project Manager Tai Alex talks about this innovative approach to helping justice-involved young adults to access education and employment. The podcast also includes a discussion with two current Corps Members. The Harlem Justice Corps funded by the New York City Young Male Initiative and the John Jay College Prisoner Reentry Institute.   The Harlem Justice Corps Combines Education with Community Service for Justice-Involved Young People

Nov 27, 2013

TED Talk On Injustice

A wonderful and inspriing TED Talk by Bryan Stevenson, Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initative.

Nov 20, 2013

GED Graduation at the Metropolitian Correctional Center

This morning I had the pleasure of addressing the graduating GED class at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. The Center is a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility in lower Manhattan. The 12 graduates in attendance are among the over 40 that have received their GED this year through the Center’s education program—double the number from a few years ago. In the audience were family members and tutors; other inmates who volunteer their time to help fellow inmates attain the GED. I was struck by the dedication of the staff and tutors. One graduate, who was honored at the event, was not so sure about the program initially. He told me during the reception that his instructor kept on him and would not give up. He credited her persistence as a key reason why he passed the GED. Each graduate I spoke with had a genuine optimism about their future; they were also clear that they did not want to ever come back to prison.

My time at the facility with the men and their families reminded me about the importance of education and the need get education programs back in prison. We know that education programs in prison reduce recidivism and improve job prospects for persons returning from prison. A friend once told me that when he was on the inside he had a choice to make: "to either do his time, or let the time do him." Prison education programs offer men and women who are incarcerated an opportunity to “do their time” in a way that will benefit not just themselves but also their families and the larger community. 

Christopher Watler
Project Director
Harlem Community Justice Center