This week’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial stirred up many emotions for our staff and community, and we hope everyone is doing what they need to process this development. While the guilty verdict is a small victory for police accountability and we hope it provides some relief for George Floyd’s family, the verdict should not be equated with justice. Justice would be George Floyd still being alive today. Justice would be fixing a policing system that disproportionately kills Black and Brown people. Justice would be investing in under-served communities. In the United States, nearly 1,000 people are shot and killed by the police every year. Less than 1% of officers are convicted of a crime, and when a conviction is issued, it’s often for a lesser crime, such as manslaughter or negligent homicide. Derek Chauvin’s trial was held 10 miles from where a police officer shot Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man, in a routine traffic stop just 9 days earlier. On the same afternoon Chauvin’s verdict was announced, a Black teenager named Ma'Khia Bryant was fatally shot by police in Columbus, Ohio. Police are 3x more likely to kill Black people than white people, even though Black people 1.3x more likely to be unarmed. Additionally, there have only been three days this year when police did not kill someone. The verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial should not be hailed as a victory, but rather as a small step in undoing the systemic racism and white supremacy deeply engrained in this country. Sincerely, The John Jay College Institute for Justice and Opportunity
As a champion of institutional, structural, and personal transformation, the Institute opens doors and eliminates barriers to success for people who have been involved in the criminal legal system. We create access to higher education and pathways to satisfying careers. We advocate for the right to housing, employment, healthcare, and other human rights too often denied people with criminal convictions.
The Institute’s Educational Pathways are an integrated set of programs that create access to higher education for students with histories of justice involvement.
Career Pathways promotes access to training and employment for people who have been involved in the criminal justice system, with a focus on creating pathways to careers in the human services field.
The Institute's policy advocacy seeks to eliminate barriers and generate policies and practice make it possible for people with conviction histories to live successfully in the community.
The Institute conducts research on a range of topics connected to its work and criminal justice reform.
“These [Prison-to-College Pipeline classes] have been instrumental to my personal growth. These men and women who have taken time out of their lives to interact with us, to help in the shaping of ideas and attitudes have been a blessing."
The Gotham Gazette recently featured an op-ed by Devone Nash, titled "Efforts to End Racism Must Include Dismantling Housing Discrimination." Devone is a College Initiative alum and a member of the Institute's Fair Chance for Housing Coalition.
We are pleased to announce that our Executive Director, Ann Jacobs, has been elected as a founding member of the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ), a national invitational membership organization and think tank. Independent and nonpartisan, CCJ advances understanding of the criminal justice policy choices facing the nation and builds consensus for solutions that enhance safety and justice for all. Through research, policy development, and other projects that harness the experience and vision of its leaders and members, CCJ serves as a catalyst for system improvements based on facts, evidence, and fundamental principles of justice. Members of the council include professionals in law enforcement, courts, and corrections; state, local, and federal policy makers; advocates and researchers; leaders in business, faith, and philanthropy; directly impacted people and others. Click here for more information about the Council on Criminal Justice.