Congratulations to the first cohort of Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity

Congratulations to the first cohort of Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity, which includes criminal justice reform advocate, Marlon Peterson. Hosted at Columbia University, the fellowship will study the causes of and develop solutions to anti-black racism.


Twenty-nine advocates, organizers and artists selected from across the U.S. and South Africa to tackle anti-Black racism and white supremacy

NEW YORK, NY — The Atlantic Fellows for Racial Equity (AFRE) named its first cohort of 29 Atlantic Fellows to begin a year-long program, expanding their work to challenge racism in the U.S. and South Africa and disrupt the rise of white nationalism and supremacy.

The inaugural group is composed of activists, lawyers, artists, scholars, advocates and other leaders, all accomplished in their work to end white supremacy and racism in the United States and South Africa. The cohort is the first of 10 in a 10-year, $60-million program centered on exposing and ending racial discrimination and violence that dehumanize Black people and, ultimately, harm all people.



Columbia Giving Day

On Wed., October 18, 2017, support the Center for Justice at Columbia University in honor of Giving Day!


Our mission is to develop university-community partnerships that work together to end our nation’s reliance on criminalization, incarceration and retribution, and transform the justice system into one centered on prevention and healing.


Your gift will help us provide college courses to students in prisons, workshops in areas that range from coding to creative writing to youth in detention centers, and educational, research, and leadership opportunities to formerly incarcerated students at Columbia. It will also help us provide internships and research fellowships to Columbia students interested in working with the Center for Justice.

Please support us at any level you can – $10, $25, $50, $100, $250 or more – your gift WILL make a difference, and help fund these critical educational and leadership initiatives.

Click Here to Make your Gift NOW!





Smart on Crime | The Crime Report

Why Community Corrections Systems Fail

“If we didn’t exist, no one would invent us,” says former New York Commissioner of Probation Vincent Schiraldi. Speaking this week at the Smart on Crime conference at John Jay College, he said the punitive approach taken by probation and parole agencies made them major drivers of mass incarceration.



Beyond The Bars Fellows and Justice In Education Scholars featured in Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act

The United States holds 30% of the world’s incarcerated women. We shackle them while giving birth. We often place them hundreds of miles away from their children – further inhibiting the healthy development of their children. And we force them to make draconian choices, like whether to use commissary funds to call home, or purchase sanitary pads.



DIG member Christopher-Medina-Kirchner featured in the Milwaukee Courier

Drugs Are Not The Problem; The Environment Is

“It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict. It is the need to escape from a harsh reality.” –Shirley Chisholm

My little brother is addicted to heroin. I desperately want to make his life better than what it currently is. For this reason, I have spent the last five years studying drug use and abuse. I was astonished to learn that the vast majority of people who use drugs, such as heroin, don’t have a problem and are not addicted. They are responsible members of our society, who pay taxes and take care of business. If this is true, then why does my little brother use problematically?


New Feminist Solutions Report: The Crisis of Criminalization

The Crisis of Criminalization: A Call for a Comprehensive Philanthropic Response

Written by Andrea J. Ritchie and Beth E. Richie


This report is an urgent call for a comprehensive philanthropic response to the growing crisis of criminalization. Over the past decade mass incarceration – the reality that over 2.2 million people are locked up in the nation’s prisons and jails, and 60% are people of color – has emerged as a central social justice issue of our time. Advocates, organizers, and philanthropic partners have confronted this crisis by working to reduce both racial disparities and the overall population of incarcerated people, and to mitigate the collateral consequences of criminal convictions.




Beats, Rhymes and Justice: Hip Hop on Rikers Island – The Documentary

Beats, Rhymes & Justice, a collaboration with Audio Pictures LLC., uses digital music production, lyric writing and media literacy to engage young people in producing and recording songs at Rikers Island.  Students learn to create and record songs using iPads and music production software and also critically examine a variety of works from hip-hop artists including Tupac, Nas and Kendrick Lamar.



Writing Workshop: Poetry and Protest Movements | Apply Now

Fall Writing Workshop: Poetry & Protest Movements

June Jordan (1936-2002) was a political activist and poet who founded “Poetry for the People Workshops” while teaching at UC Berkeley. She believed that poetry is a communal and easy-to-use art form. In memory of June Jordan’s work, Christopher Soto was invited by Columbia University to teach a community-based writing workshop that serves both the Columbia University student body and also members of the surrounding community in Harlem. Although all applications will be considered, youth ages 16-18 in the Harlem area will be be giving strong consideration. Over the span of 8 weeks, participants of the workshops will be reading about contemporary American poetry that has supplemented various protest movements in the 20th and 21st centuries. Workshop participants will also be writing and editing their own poems during this course.


Application Deadline: September 22, 2017

Cost: Free

Workshops will take place on Columbia’s campus


Dates and Times:

Monday, Oct 16 | 7pm-9pm

Monday, Oct 23 | 7pm-9pm

Monday, Oct 30 | 7pm-9pm

Monday, Nov 6 | No Class

Monday, Nov 13 | 7pm-9pm

Monday, Nov 20 | 7pm-9pm

Monday, Nov 27 | 7pm-9pm

Monday, Dec 4 | 7pm-9pm

Monday, Dec 11 | 7pm-9pm


Application Process:


Please email 5-7 pages of poetry in a word document. Also include a title page, which states your name, address, age, and a short statement (3-4 sentences) about any writing experience that you have or that you would like to gain.


About the Instructor:

Christopher Soto (b. 1991, Los Angeles) is a poet based in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of “Sad Girl Poems” (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016) and the editor of “Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color” (Nightboat Books, 2018). He cofounded the Undocupoets Campaign and worked with Amazon Literary Partnerships to establish grants for undocumented writers.  In 2017, he was awarded “The Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism” by Split This Rock. In 2016, Poets & Writers honored Christopher Soto with the “Barnes & Nobles Writer for Writers Award.” He frequently writes book reviews for the Lambda Literary Foundation. His poems, reviews, interviews, and articles can be found at The Nation, The Guardian, The Advocate, Los Angeles Review of Books, American Poetry Review, Tin House, and more. His work has been translated into Spanish and Portuguese. He received his MFA in poetry from NYU, where he was a Goldwater Hospital Writing Workshop Fellow.

New York Times Op-Ed from Dr. Carl Hart, Chair, Department of Psychology

The Real Opioid Emergency


Every Friday evening, with sadness and with pride, I make a 90-minute trek from Columbia University to Sing Sing Correctional Facility to teach a drugs and behavior course. My students, who are bright and predominantly black, enthusiastically engage with the curriculum, not least because some of them have a personal stake in the subject. Several are serving time for a drug-related offense, as are hundreds of thousands of other Americans….


Read Full Article in New York Times


March for Justice

Join our partners at Alliance of Families for Justice


The March for Justice is an undertaking by the Alliance of Families for Justice–NY (AFJ-NY) to bring attention to human rights abuses in New York State prisons and jails. The March will start in New York City on August 26, 2017, and culminate in a press conference and rally in Albany on Sept. 13, 2017, the anniversary of the 1971 Attica uprising and massacre. Read the March for Justice Executive Summary.

Tentative March Schedule
Some towns will change–final route will be posted here soon
* means confirmed:

Day 1, Sat. August 26: Harlem*→Bronx*
National Black Theatre, Harlem, NY. Get flyer.
Day 2, Sun., August 27: Bronx*→Yonkers*
Day 3, Mon., August 28: Yonkers*→White Plains*
Day 4, Tues., August 29: White Plains*→Tarrytown*
Day 5, Weds., August 30: Tarrytown*→Ossining*
Day 6, Thurs., August 31: Ossining*→Peekskill*


Click here to see the entire March Schedule