Join the Coalition
To join our work, please fill out the information below
Join a Working Group
The Youth Justice New Jersey Coalition operates three working groups.
Please email Retha Onitiri at ROnitiri [at] NJISJ [dot] ORG to learn about joining the working groups:
Decarceration Working Group
Youth Justice New Jersey’s Decarceration Working Group advocates for an end to youth prisons. We work to transform our juvenile justice system into a system of community based care. There is clear evidence that a system focused on rehabilitation and prevention yields far better results in diverting youth from the juvenile justice system, decreasing recidivism rates, and ensuring that those currently in the system have an opportunity to re-enter their communities as productive citizens.
Conditions of Confinement Working Group
Youth Justice New Jersey’s Conditions of Confinement Working Group is committed to improving the conditions of confinement for incarcerated youth. We work to ensure that incarcerated youth are housed in the least restrictive environment possible, are safe, and that they receive age-appropriate services focused on treatment and healthy development, which includes meaningful access to educational and rehabilitative programming and physical and mental health services. We also strive to promote racial equality and fair treatment for all youth within the criminal justice system.
School to Prison Pipeline Working Group
Youth Justice New Jersey’s School to Prison Pipeline Working Group is dedicated to ending the wrongful transfer of our children from places of learning to incarceration. Our work focuses on collaborating with schools, families, and law enforcement to effect real change in the system. First, we plan to work with students and their families to inform them of, and advocate for, their rights before, during, and after school disciplinary and criminal justice proceedings. Second, we aim to work with school administrators and educators to shift the standard from police involvement to restorative justice, intensive social services, and other practices designed to keep children in the classroom. Last, we hope to partner with local law enforcement and government officials to strengthen and promote diversion programs, such as stationhouse adjustments, to make sure students do not enter the system at all.