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New Jersey Reentry Program

New Jersey Reentry Program for prisoners reentering society

New Jersey Reentry Program

The initial months are especially trying for prisoners reentering society. Their obstacles range from limited housing and employment options to a lack of social connections. For many, it is nearly impossible to pursue a higher education without outside support. The New Jersey Reentry Program provides emergency funds for students who struggle to find footing in life after prison. The program also offers mentoring services to reduce recidivism rates.

NJ-STEP College Program

The New Jersey Reentry Program operates under the rubric of the First Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey. While our primary targets are NJ STEP students who are transitioning either to Rutgers University or community college, we also reach out to students who prefer to enter the workforce before continuing their college education.

New Jersey Reentry Program

Eunice Wong, Dr. James Cone, Dr. Cornel West and Chris Hedges with students in the NJ-STEP college program at East Jersey State Prison in Rahway, New Jersey.

I have taught students for nearly a decade in four New Jersey prisons. I taught a course through Princeton University last year where half of the students were Princeton undergraduates and the other half were incarcerated women. I currently teach, as I have in the past, in the Rutgers B.A. program administered by NJ-STEP. When our students are released they often have difficulty finding employment and and a place to live. I and other professors, over the years, have spent several thousand dollars helping our students make the transition from prison to a productive life on the outside. Our resources are not enough to ensure that our students are given the kind of support they need once they leave prison. The Prison Reentry Program, administered by the Second Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey, is an attempt to provide emergency help for men and women who have worked hard inside prison to turn their lives around and get a college education and who seek to reintegrate into society.

– Chris Hedges