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Public alarm is growing in response to recent reports of the increasingly inhumane conditions at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City. Reporting and footage of people being held in overcrowded and unsanitary cells has become common knowledge among many New Yorkers and has heightened awareness around ongoing advocacy efforts to accelerate the planned closure of Rikers Island.
Harsh prison conditions have been widely examined for their effects on the mental health of incarcerated people, but few studies have examined whether mental health status exposes individuals to harsh treatment in the penal system.
Building on understandings of the violence, criminalization, and punitive excess within our current justice system, Bruce Western and Sukyi McMahon give an overview of essays in this issue of Dædalus that discuss eliminating mass incarceration and producing a new kind of community safety that strengthens social bonds and reckons with a history of racial injustice.
Criminal justice issues are at the forefront in New York City and nationally. The justice policies NYC’s next mayor pursues and prioritizes will determine the future of safety for our city as well as justice for all of our residents.
Written testimony of Lael Chester and Vincent Schiraldi regarding H.B. 111/133, on legislation to gradually raise the upper age of juvenile jurisdiction for misdemeanor cases
Justice Lab Joins Call to Give Correctional Staff and Incarcerated People Equal and Urgent COVID-19 Vaccine Priority
The Justice Lab joined top university experts in calling on the CDC and states to prioritize incarcerated people and correctional staff in early-phase distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.
The Columbia Justice Lab is pleased to welcome Jeremy Travis as a new Senior Fellow, beginning in July 2023.
Emerging Adult Justice Project Submitted a Report Supporting Reforming and Expanding Colorado’s “Youth Offender System” to Include All Emerging Adults
NEW YORK, NY – The Columbia Justice Lab’s Emerging Adult Justice Project (EAJP), with the support of the Colorado Department of Corrections, submitted a Report on February 1, 2022 to Colorado’s House and Senate Judiciary Committees making research-based recommendations to transform the state’s Youth Offender System (YOS). The report explains the impact of including young people up to age 25 who commit felony offenses in the YOS and how that expansion should be implemented.
NEW YORK, NY – On January 31, 2022 Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced that his office will turn its Emerging Adult Initiative, which began operating in October 2020, into a permanent unit. Specially assigned prosecutors, paralegals, and a Victim Witness Coordinator will work together to review misdemeanor and certain felony cases involving 18-25-year-olds (to the 26th birthday), to determine their eligibility for prosecution tailored to their distinct developmental stage.
Defeating harmful narratives: Setting the record straight about crime and sharing solutions for community safety
Communities across the country are combating reactionary policy proposals aimed at increasing youth incarceration. These proposals are based on misleading rhetoric that frames crime as being “out of control,” without clearly articulating what the data really show.
On June 14, 2022, Columbia Justice Lab hosted a webinar exploring the facts about recent trends in crime and how communities are creating safety without relying on harmful carceral responses. The webinar contextualized recent trends and offered history, data, and real-world insights to counter regressive narratives.
On May 19, the Columbia Justice Lab co-sponsored an important virtual forum on Fixing Rikers Island: A Federal Receivership? The federal monitor overseeing Rikers Island recently concluded that city jails are “trapped in a state of persistent dysfunctionality” with “imminent risk of harm to incarcerated individuals and staff.” This has led numerous knowledgeable city leaders to
A Roadmap to Justice Reform: Key Elements of Specialized Courts, Probation and Corrections for Emerging Adults
Building upon a groundswell of voices for change, jurisdictions across the U.S. are seeking new models for the treatment and care of emerging adults (ages 18 - 25) in the criminal justice system.