The Criminal Justice Caucus at Columbia University School of Social Work seeks to increase awareness around the wide spectrum of issues that relate to the criminal justice and prison systems in the United States. The caucus hopes to inspire student, faculty, and community interest and involvement in constructive criminal justice curricular and extra-curricular endeavors.
To act as a support for students with criminal justice field placements (prisons, courts, re-entry, etc.) and students with clients that interact with the criminal justice system with the aim of bolstering clinical and advocacy skills that can benefit these programs and populations.
To strive to link the community of New York City residents especially those with experience or ties to the criminal justice system to the information and resources our school and this caucus can provide.
To further the movement of consciousness of criminal justice systems, its intersections with racism and oppression and to inspire transformative action.
The caucus works to meet our mission and goals through lectures, forums, panels, trainings, and other events that facilitate critical dialogue around the intersections of social justice, oppression and criminal justice and how these intersections affect all populations.
Past events include: Fathering From Prison, Juvenile Justice: Policy in Practice, Mental Health Alternatives to Solitary Confinement, Troy Davis Teach-In, and Youth Day (Partnership with H.O.L.L.A. [How Our Lives Link Altogether]).
Johanna Neufeld (’10) and Caitlin Graziano (’10) noticed a significant lack of groups and programming that dealt with criminal justice issues especially surrounding prisoners, families, the social implications of these issues, and advocacy in the School of Social Work. As a response to the lack of curriculum and programming Neufeld and Graziano, in collaboration with Dr. Kathy Boudin and the Criminal Justice Initiative created the Criminal Justice Caucus in Spring 2010.