Columbia World Projects (CWP) today announced the launch of Measuring the Impact of Youth Justice Initiatives, a new project that will support New York City youth who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.
For this project, CWP will support a year-long evaluation of the Justice Ambassadors Youth Council. The Justice Ambassadors Youth Council, a program led by Columbia University’s Center for Justice, is an innovative program in which young New Yorkers, including those who have been negatively affected by the justice system as well as Columbia University students, work with city agencies and community leaders to co-author policy proposals. The proposals aim to transform the justice system and address community challenges in New York City.
The Justice Ambassadors Youth Council has already inspired numerous policy changes throughout New York City government, including an innovative new community-led intervention to reduce gun violence and street crew involvement in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. With CWP’s support, the Justice Ambassadors Youth Council will rigorously evaluate both its ongoing programming and this new intervention in Brooklyn. The evaluation will identify successes and challenges in order to determine effectiveness and the potential for scaling these programs in New York City and beyond.
“The Justice Ambassadors Youth Council connects justice system-impacted youth and Columbia University faculty and students to policymakers to create change together. It embodies what Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger calls the Fourth Purpose – using the unique intellectual resources of our university to build partnerships that tackle important challenges and improve people’s lives,” said Wafaa El-Sadr, the director of CWP.
“Columbia World Projects’ support will enable us to further document the power of participatory and collaborative policymaking to improve the lives of youth, strengthen communities, and break out of failed policies, outdated systemic practices, and institutional neglect that have been destructive in Black and Brown communities in New York,” said Jarrell Daniels, a Columbia School of General Studies student who founded the Justice Ambassadors Youth Council program and will co-lead the project.
The project is led by Daniels; Geraldine Downey, Director of the Center for Justice and the Robert Johnson Niven Professor of Humane Letters in Psychology; Claudia P. Rincón, Associate Director of Operations and Evaluation at the Center for Justice; UniQue C. Starks, a postdoctoral scholar and doctorate of social work; and Brooke Burrows, a University of Massachusetts doctoral student working at the Center for Justice.