Jersey City Community Solutions, the city’s local community court program, provides alternative sentences for low-level offenses in hopes of holding offenders accountable while reducing recidivism, aiding victims, and increasing public confidence in the justice system.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“By providing certain offenders with services instead of sentences, we’ll better tackle the underlying issues which contribute to criminal behavior such as drug or alcohol abuse,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“We’ve collaborated with our community residents to get their input to best address our goals.”
Eligible program participants undergo a needs assessment, attend recommended social services, and must engage in restorative community service projects which serve as meaningful sanctions for their offenses, the city said in a news release.
Community service is performed at collaborating institutions and nonprofit organizations across the city including food pantries, senior care organizations, and the city’s own Department of Public Works, among many others.
Additionally, more than a dozen social service organizations offer coordinated services to ensure offenders can get back on track.
Since the program pilot began in October of 2017, 45 percent of participants have successfully completed the program, and current enrollees are actively working toward program completion.
Under the new program, offenders are offered a variety of services to help with rehabilitation including drug treatment, job training, and TASC (formerly GED) classes.
Jersey City was one of 10 municipalities nationwide selected for a competitive $200,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant in 2016 to develop and implement a community court program to reform its court system when dealing with lower-level crimes.
Overall, JCCS seeks to accomplish its goals by using visible community service sentences to send a message to the community that the justice system will address quality-of-life harm done by offenders.
The list of partners is not exhaustive and JCCS is still seeking partnerships with organizations in an effort to serve the residents of our community. Interested organizations can email JCCS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201-209-6734.
The current social and community service partners are as follows:
Jersey City Department of Public Works
The Sharing Place
St John’s Lutheran Church Food Pantry
Garden State Episcopal CDC
Grace Church Van Vorst
Liberty Humane Society
NAACP Chapter of Jersey City
Hudson Pride Connection Center
City of Jersey City, Health and Human Services Health/Medical
City of Jersey City, Office of Veterans Affairs Veterans
City of Jersey City, Office of Welcoming Communities Immigration
Jersey City Employment and Training Program Education/Job Training
Women Rising Employment/Job Training, Family
C-Line Community Outreach Services Addiction/Co-Occurring Treatment
Khaleidoscope Health Care, Inc. Addiction/Co-Occurring Treatment
Covenant House Youth Homelessness Services
Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services Mental Health Treatment
Collaborative Support Programs of NJ Mental Health-Drop In Center
Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corp. Homelessness/Housing Resources
The Waterfront Project Legal Advocacy
Northeast New Jersey Legal Services Legal Advocacy
Urban League of Hudson County Family Services
Hudson Pride Connection Center LGBTQ Advocacy/Minority Health
Metropolitan Family Health Network, Inc. Health/Medical
The Royal Men Foundation Mentoring/Support Group