The John Jay College Institute for Justice and Opportunity produces resources on a range of topics connected to its work and criminal legal system reform. Our resources are intended for a number of audiences, including but not limited to: people with conviction histories, community-based organizations that support people with conviction histories, correctional staff, college and university staff supporting students with conviction records, and employers.

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All Resources

College After Prison: A Review of the Literature on Barriers and Supports to Postsecondary Education for Formerly Incarcerated College Students

The white paper was co-authored by Vernisa M. Donaldson and Christopher Viera of the City University of New York (CUNY) Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS) as part of their contracted evaluation of College Initiative. The white paper synthesizes existing literature around higher education for formerly incarcerated individuals and describes the need for more work in this area.

Reflections on Building a Partnership with Corrections: A Resource Guide for College-in-Prison Programs

This guide is part of an effort to provide college providers with the necessary tools for developing programs that are responsive to the unique environment of correctional facilities. While designed specifically for college programs that operate in New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) facilities, this guide may also be useful for organizations and colleges outside of New York that wish to establish or enhance college-in-prison programs.

Getting the Record Straight: A Guide to Navigating Background Checks

This guide is designed to help people with conviction records navigate the individual, institutional, and systemic barriers erected by background checks. It is common for people to feel nervous or stigmatized when going through a background check. Preparing in advance can help the experience become less intimidating. This guide will help readers understand what appears on a conviction record, prepare for a background check, be ready to respond to questions, and more.

New York State Back to School Guide: Pursuing College After Incarceration

The New York State Back to School Guide is written for people who wish to pursue a college education in New York State after their release from incarceration. Its core purpose is to help readers develop a thoughtful and practical academic reentry plan to advance personal and professional goals. Additionally, this resource will be useful to college-in-prison providers, correctional education and counseling staff, community-based reentry organizations, and case managers seeking to support the educational goals of the adult learners with whom they work.

Getting to Work with a Criminal Record: New York State License Guides (2020 Expanded Edition)

The New York State License Guides explain the process for obtaining licenses in 25, high-demand occupations and professions for people who have conviction records. These guides aim to dispel the myths and misinformation that may discourage people with convictions from pursuing employment and career pathways that are actually available to them. There is a common misconception that a conviction record makes licensing impossible; in fact, 86 percent of people with conviction records who applied for New York State occupational licensing in 2018 were approved.

Mapping the City University of New York

Mapping the City University of New York: The University’s Commitment to Students Impacted by the Criminal Legal System details the scope of CUNY’s policies and programs for students impacted by the criminal legal system and explores opportunities for CUNY to better support those students.

Mapping the Landscape of Higher Education in New York State Prisons

Mapping the Landscape of Higher Education in New York State Prisons is the first of its kind in examining both the history and scope of college-in-prison programs across the state. The report describes the existing programs and incorporates the perspectives of DOCCS officials, college administrators, and incarcerated students.

Is College For Me?

Is College For Me? is a a pocket-sized fold out designed in collaboration with the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) that demystifies the process of enrolling in college. The colorful resource explains the various types of degrees, schools, and resources available to students. Is College For Me? also breaks down the steps students can take while in still in prison and after coming home.

Getting to Work with a Criminal Record: NYS License Guides

This series of License Guides serves to support justice-involved individuals and advocates navigating the licensing process for 10 occupations in New York State. Developed in partnership with Youth Represent, PRI's License Guides include a comprehensive and accessible overview of the licensing process for each occupation, as well as a glossary of key legal terms and information on additional resources.

Housing for the Justice-Involved: The Case for County Action

Finding safe and affordable housing is crucial to their successful reentry, but is all too often a major challenge for justice-involved individuals. By encouraging innovative budgeting, collaboration across agencies, and the development of cutting-edge social services, PRI and the National Association of Counties (NACo) are laying the foundations for effective county action on reentry housing.

A Place to Call Home

This report makes the case of providing dignified housing that meets the needs of those with criminal justice histories, and providing it as quickly as possible upon reentry.

Pretrial Practice: Building a National Research Agenda for the Front End of the Criminal Justice System | A Report on the Roundtable on Pretrial Practice

The companion volume to Pretrial Practice: Rethinking the Front End of the Criminal Justice System documents the progress made by scholars at the second Roundtable on Pretrial Practice, held at John Jay College in October of 2015. At the second Roundtable, participants built on the ideas, discussions, and areas of consensus from the first convening by working to chart a national research agenda for the field of pretrial.

Pretrial Practice: Rethinking the Front End of the Criminal Justice System | A Report on the Roundtable on Pretrial Practice

This report documents the first Roundtable's far-ranging discussions about how to remake pretrial through early intervention, innovative policing strategies, risk-based pretrial decision-making, and evidence-based pretrial supervision, all grounded in an important conversation about the core values that underpin American justice: proportionality, parsimony, citizenship, and social justice.

Parental Incarceration and Child Wellbeing – An Annotated Bibliography

This annotated bibliography focuses on quantitative research on the consequences of paternal and maternal incarceration for children that (1) attempts to control for selection using standard statistical techniques, (2) uses broadly representative data, and (3) differentiates consequences of paternal incarceration from those of maternal incarceration. Although this bibliography focuses primarily on research in the United States, a small number of studies using data from European countries are also included.

Higher Education and Reentry: The Gifts They Bring

This Participatory Action Research study, conducted by Michelle Fine, Alexis Halkovic (CUNY Graduate Center) and a team of research assistants, explores the lived experiences of people with criminal justice histories as they attend and contemplate enrolling in college.

The Greening of Corrections: Creating a Sustainable System

Funded by the National Institute of Corrections, this publication provides correctional professionals with an understanding of how to 1) build or transform correctional agencies into self-sustaining facilities; 2) identify green job training programs and jobs for prisoners that provide quality employment opportunities; and 3) make prison industry products, jobs, and services more environmentally friendly.

In Our Backyard: Overcoming Community Resistance to Reentry Housing (A NIMBY Toolkit)

“Not in My Back Yard” – commonly referred to as NIMBY – resistance can result in significant program delays or even complete shutdowns. The NIMBY Toolkit focuses on helping organizations address a very specific issue when developing the capacity to provide housing to formerly incarcerated people and provides a statement of possibility for others who are seeking to house needy and feared populations.

The Jail Administrator’s Toolkit for Reentry

As a companion to Life after Lockup, this handbook serves a practical resource for jail administrators and local correctional staff. It covers such issues as coordinating community stakeholders, identifying community resources, and measuring success on a local level.

Venturing beyond the Gates: Facilitating Successful Reentry with Entrepreneurship

Venturing beyond the Gates: Facilitating Successful Reentry with Entrepreneurship includes overviews of the fields of criminal justice, reentry, entrepreneurship, and microenterprise; opportunities represented by bridging these fields; funding opportunities; and profiles of microenterprise programs working with currently and formerly incarcerated individuals.