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) works to solve the crisis of mass incarceration by offering life-changing access to career-track opportunities in the technology industry to people impacted by the mass incarceration crisis. 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​. The goal is for JTC students to emerge as competitive applicants for jobs, internships, or future job/tech training​. 

We work with several partner organizations to identify students, provide resources, offer post-program educational opportunities, and job placement.

To learn more about funding and how you can support the program, email program manager Aedan Macdonald, aedan.macdonald@columbia.edu.

Charting a Path Forward: Systemic Racism, Inequity, and the Role of Tech Entrepreneurship

As the country continues to experience a mass movement for social justice and equality to end centuries of racism, how can we all contribute to lasting change? Tech, as a sector that shapes so much of our daily lives, has the opportunity to lead in the fight for equality and racial equity.

Organized by Justice Through Code, this Charting a Path Forward session will explore how the tech sector can address systemic racism and how entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors are pursuing opportunities to transform our individual and collective understanding, and pursuing high impact ventures and innovations designed to achieve racial equity outcomes.

Based on the disproportionate effect that our justice system has on communities of color, conversations on systemic racism must include mass incarceration and its collateral consequences that prevent returning citizens from employment, housing, and many other opportunities.

Speakers will illuminate both the challenges and opportunities for equitable hiring from their funding, tech, and innovation perspectives. 

Our goals from the Charting a Path Forward session are to explore long term solutions to dismantling the foundations of racism and discrimination and to determine areas where the tech industry can go beyond discussion and take action to achieve equal opportunities for all.

Event Date: August 26th

Event Time: 7:00 - 8:30 pm EST

Register by clicking here


Charting a Path Forward: Systemic Racism, Inequity, and Tech Entrepreneurship - Event Flyer


The ​curriculum was developed by the program’s Academic Advisor, ​Mattan Griffel​, who received the Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence, and teaches a similar course at Columbia Business School.

The JTC curriculum is composed of five elements:

  1. Teaching participants the fundamentals of programming in Python.
  2. Networking with various industry leaders who visit the classroom to familiarize participants with career options and facilitate connections with possible mentors
  3. Interpersonal skills training and support to assist participants in becoming competitive applicants to jobs, internships, or future job training in the tech industry.
  4. Placement of participants in internships or jobs throughout the NYC tech ecosystem. 
  5. Post-graduation support and provision of multiple educational pathways, mentorship, and additional job training, should participants choose to pursue other careers paths in the tech industry.


Updated after our pilot program in spring 2020, the next Justice Through Code session will begin in the fall 2020 ​meeting twice during the week from 6 to 9 p.m. We will also require participants to complete at-home video lessons and coursework in order to receive a certificate of program completion from Columbia Business School. Upon completion, JTC works with partner organizations to place participants in paid internships or jobs throughout the NYC tech ecosystem, and to provide pathways to additional job training, should participants choose to pursue other careers paths in the tech industry.

The fall 2020 application is now live and can be accessed by clicking here. 


Who are the target students?​ JTC participants demonstrate need through their shared history of incarceration or justice involvement. ​While participants are expected to have a base level of proficiency and a significant level of comfort navigating basic computer tasks for admission to the program, no prior programming experience is necessary. JTC works with partners to provide laptops for participants who do not own them, as laptops and/or home computers are required. Assistance with public transport costs to be able to attend twice-weekly classes will also be provided to participants.

Questions?​ ​Contact program manager Aedan Macdonald at aedan.macdonald@columbia.edu​.

Donations, Sponsorship, and Hiring Our Graduates

Want to join us in our fight for equitable and sustainable careers for the formerly incarcerated? Want to help with our goal to reduce recidivism? Looking to hire one of our graduates for contract work or to work for your company?

Please email aedan.macdonald@columbia.edu to learn more about donations, sponsorship, and hiring our graduates.