To realize the Center’s mission, we work with diverse individuals and groups through our many projects. Whether we’re working with youth, community organizations, or formerly incarcerated women; or working in the area of policy, education, or research, we strive to ensure our projects are created and led by those they intend to serve.

Check out a full list of our projects below:

Arts and Justice

We believe that art is crucial to our movement work and in enacting change, and we are committed to including the arts in all of our educational and policy work, and to build on the network of connections we have forged with New York arts organizations through our participation in the Kenan Social Justice and the Arts network. Working with teaching artists and arts educators, we have developed an initiative that integrates our arts educational work at Rikers, which offers an artist-in-residence program for formerly incarcerated people working in the area of social justice and the arts.

  • The Confined Arta

Learn more about Arts and Justice

Beyond the Bars

The Beyond the Bars Conference is an annual student-driven interdisciplinary conference on mass incarceration held at Columbia University.  Each year the conference brings together students, faculty, activists, advocates, practitioners, those who have experienced and/or been impacted by incarceration, community members and more to connect, galvanize, and deepen the work of building justice and equity and ending mass incarceration.

Learn more about Beyond the Bars

Collaborative Change for Justice

Under the Collaborative Change for Justice initiative, programs facilitate structured, meaningful, and novel engagement between different stakeholders, with special focus on students and city officials, to spark dialogue, better understand community challenges, and explore possible solutions together. With Columbia University’s extensive network of support, Collaborative Change of Justice programs can engage the university’s many disciplines and further collaborate with community partners to reduce the national reliance on mass incarceration and to support new approaches to justice and safety through education, research, and policy change.

Learn more about Collaborative Change for Justice

Justice Beyond the Punishment Paradigm

Justice Beyond the Punishment Paradigm (JBPP) is an initiative at the Center that seeks to end punishment and incarceration as the dominant response to violent offenses. We aim to promote prevention, safety, accountability, healing and repair, focusing on survivors and those who commit violence (often one in the same), and their communities. Persistent punishment does little to prevent violence, denies the capacity for transformation, and furthers policies of racist criminalization and exclusion. Communities most impacted experience substantial disinvestment as resources are used to criminalize and incarcerate, not prevent and intervene. We are in a remarkable moment of change and justice reform but addressing violence remains at the margins.

  • Everyday Restorative Justice

  • Parole and Long Sentences

  • Trainings

Learn more about Justice Beyond the Punishment Paradigm


The Justice-in-Education (JIE) Initiative is dedicated to bringing credit-bearing college courses, workshops, and creative projects to campus, local prisons, and at the Rikers Island jail complex. Our programs open channels of communication and collaboration between Columbia faculty and students, communities affected by incarceration, and the public at large for a more just and socially conscious system of higher education.

Learn more about Justice-in-Education

Justice Through Code

Justice Through Code is a free coding intensive that provides opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals to begin to grow and develop into the technology leaders of tomorrow. It is jointly ​offered by Columbia University’s Center for Justice, and the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise at Columbia Business School. Justice Through Code  (JTC) seeks to tackle mass incarceration by addressing two of the most significant contributors to recidivism: a lack of job training and the subsequently high rates of unemployment for the formerly incarcerated. In response to these challenges, JTC aims to equip participants with the requisite skills to embark on a sustainable career in the tech industry through a semester-long coding intensive that includes interpersonal skills training and networking opportunities​. 

Learn more about Justice Through Code

Roma People’s Project

The Center for Justice serves as the incubator of the Roma Peoples Project (RPP), which address how Roma have represented themselves and how they have been represented by others. The RPP aligns with the Center’s mission of empowering vulnerable people who suffer from criminalized identities, discrimination, stigma, and lack of inclusion within mainstream society. It aims to identify, centralize, examine, and curate images and information about the Roma people in order to bring them to the forefront of academic and public consciousness.

Learn more about the Roma People's Project

Women Transcending

Women Transcending (WT) focuses on the impact of the mass incarceration system on women and girls and the roles that women are playing in changing those systems. WT is committed to making a unique and necessary contribution through three interrelated projects focusing on women and incarceration and the growth of women’s leadership in the movement to end mass incarceration.

Learn more about Women Transcending