Criminal Justice Reform

Mission: Defend and protect the liberties of individuals throughout our state. We achieve our goals through litigation, advocacy on behalf of individuals, and lobbying. In addition, the ACLU-NJ is active in many public education and community organizing projects.

Website: https://www.aclu-nj.org/

Volunteer page: https://www.aclu-nj.org/act/volunteer/
Volunteer form: https://www.aclu-nj.org/act/volunteer/volunteerinquiryform/
Attorney Volunteer form: https://www.aclu-nj.org/act/volunteer-attorney-form/
Phone: 973-642-2084

What volunteers do:

  • Office (Newark): Answer phones, file, manage mail, and organize and update our databases.
  • Events and Outreach: Table at community events across the state - at street fairs, festivals, parades, meet and greet parties and rallies, and other events.
  • From Home:

Clip newspaper articles that mention civil liberties issues or the ACLU-NJ from local newspapers. 
Write letters to the editor about civil liberties in local papers.
Work with community groups to pass pro-civil liberties resolutions in their communities.
Host house parties for their friends with an ACLU-NJ speaker.

Region: Statewide

Mission: CLASP provides pro-bono services to prisoners fighting for prisoner's rights, works directly with prisoners to end mass incarceration.

Website: http://www.claspjustice.com/

Volunteer page: https://www.claspjustice.com/get-involved#in-house
Volunteer form: https://www.claspjustice.com/get-involved#application
Email: general@claspjustice.com

What volunteers do:

  • In-house – Paralegal for prison litigation. legal research (related cases, statutes, rules, etc.), legal writing, organizing notes, photocopying exhibits, making phone calls to the courts, investigative research (background checks, locating defendants, etc.), and a variety of other tasks.
  • Remote- use Google Drive to complete Prisoner Requests, assignments, and projects through CLASP.

Region: Princeton, and Statewide

Mission: A community-based program that helps people transition successfully from Middlesex County Jail back to their families and lives.

Website: http://neighborcorpsreentry.org/

Volunteer page: http://neighborcorpsreentry.org/get-involved/
Email: NeighborCorps@gmail.com
Phone: 732-675-1452

What volunteers do:

  • Navigator mentoring team member:  accompany program participants. receive thorough training.
  • Drivers
  • graphic designers
  • writers
  • database or web skills
  • marketers
  • accountants
  • administrative tasks

Region: Middlesex County

Mission: The Foundation is dedicated to planting trees in New Jersey’s most urban neighborhoods, where the need is greatest. Through tree planting, volunteerism, and partnerships, we assist numerous communities in improving their environment and quality of life.
Also, by employing ex-offenders, the Tree Foundation is providing the first stepping-stone of reintegration into society for men who have been imprisoned for years.

Website: http://njtreefoundation.org/

Volunteer form/page: http://njtreefoundation.org/volunteer/
Camden and Gloucester City: http://njtreefoundation.org/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities-in-camden/
Newark: http://njtreefoundation.org/volunteer/volunteer-in-newark/
Email:  lsimms@njtreefoundation.org
Camden:   jfranzini@njtreefoundation.org
Newark: elopez@njtreefoundation.org
Phone: camden: 856-287-4488 Newark: 609-439-1755

What volunteers do:

  • Every spring and fall, hundreds of volunteers join forces with the NJ Tree Foundation and our community partners to dig holes, plant trees, lay mulch, and have fun at tree planting events. Tools, gloves, water, and planting instructions are provided by the NJ Tree Foundation staff.
  • Take pictures and/or video at our tree planting events.

FYI: Volunteers should sign up in advance.

Region: Camden, Newark, and Gloucester City, in Essex, Camden Counties 

Mission: PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world.  Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. The Prison Writing Program sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes a free handbook for prisoners, and provides one-on-one mentoring to inmates.

Website: https://pen.org/

Volunteer page: https://pen.org/mentoring-program/
Email: penmentor@gmail.com
Phone: 212-334-1660 ext. 117

What volunteers do: mentor prison writers through mail correspondence, provide careful criticism, tips on craft, and guidance in the fundamentals of grammar. Minimum of three exchanges between mentor and writer.

Region: Statewide

Mission: Aims to reduce incarceration rates in New Jersey by increasing access to post-secondary education in state prisons. Courses in math, natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences are taught by volunteer instructors, including university faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, alumni, and community members.

Website: https://www.prisonteaching.org/

Volunteer page: https://www.prisonteaching.org/commitment
FAQ page: https://www.prisonteaching.org/new-tutor-faq
Email: pti@princeton.edu
Phone: 609-258-1675

What volunteers do:

  • Teaching, tutoring: providing intellectual engagement during incarceration and post secondary education: course design, teaching, and grading responsibilities.
  • Administrative assistant: web support, and logistical support.

FYI: volunteers who will be working in the prisons must pass a NJ Department of Corrections criminal background check and attend an orientation session prior to participating in the program. Also see hour commitments.

Region: Princeton and surrounding area