Robert DeMarco ‘21
Major: Social Work
Minor: Criminal Justice
Affiliations: EOF, Institute for Leadership and Action, Mountainview
Faculty Mentor: Mr. Michael D’Italia, Director of Student Success
The Criminal Justice Lobbying Project is an eight-pronged initiative aimed at addressing some concerns within the criminal justice system proper and reentry. The project contains four “inside” concerns and four “outside” ones. Each is supported by data and includes proposed solutions that are simple and would be relatively easy to implement with enough support. The inside concerns are the lack of recycling in DOC facilities; lack of individual mental health (sans medications) counseling in DOC facilities; lack of computer literacy programs in DOC facilities; and limited access to NJ-STEP/higher education programs in DOC facilities. The outside concerns are the lack of a support group for formerly incarcerated citizens; background check discrimination rendering “Ban the Box” ineffective; stigma faced by people with criminal records; and corruption of many reentry organizations.
The project is in the data collection stage. There are many statutes, precedents, OPRA requests, testimonials, and other facets to be researched and collated. I have made a significant dent already and have enough research to showcase the bones of the initiative, and how a community of committed individuals could flesh out the project and bring it to the attention of legislators and stakeholders.