The Correctional Association tirelessly champions important reforms to the criminal justice system; empowers incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and others affected by incarceration through advocacy efforts and coalitions; and shines a light on conditions of confinement through well researched reports.
I had the opportunity to intern with the CA while completing a graduate program in Social Work. From my first day at the organization, I was blown away by the passion for social justice, the level of community involvement, and the sense of family at the CA. The CA opperates from an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, anti-mass incarceration lens as it demands that legislatures, government agencies, corrections facilities, and community members address the atrocities of our current adult and youth justice systems and call for the retribution and punishment that define these systems to be replaced by love and healing.
I'm not sure about where to begin. I found out about Correctional Assoc. 2010, I'd found a flyer for the Reconnect program while visiting Steps. Steps was then called Stepping Stones. I called to confirm the flyer, I was called in for an interview. This is when my world began to change. Over the past three years, I have been overjoyed to come across their threshold time and time again. The staff and the energy there is so amazing. I've never seen a bunch of people who work so hard and still have a smile when they see you. Most of all I am humbled by the way they go off the limb to tell you they appreciate what you do for them. Once an incarcerated woman steps across the door, you just know, "I'm in good hands", then there's a wealth of knowledge and resources there, very organized always. I was amazed at the sisterhood that was created around the table with other women that hurt and felt and had made the same mistakes like me, that was some of our common ground. We loved together, we hurt together, you don't get that everywhere. Everything is consistent. Including the care and concern for your well being.C.A. helped me to fulfill my dream of returning to college to continue my education, I'm close to graduation and loving it. When nobody else does, Correctional Association tells you, it's ok, you've got a second chance, we're here for you. As a formerly incarcerated woman still having challenges and some mountains, that means the world and makes some of those mountains disappear. Advocacy, it is a big deal!
Hello, I don't know where to begin. I came to CA I think 3 years ago, for an interview with the director Andrea. I thought it was going to be formal. She was real cool, I felt her warm, honest energy. The program was Reconnect. I would strongly recommend that program to any and every woman returning home from incarceration. It just took off from there.Reconnect turned out to be a sisterhood I cannot describe. We laugh together, cried together, most of all we lifted one another up, and we had the most wonderful bond. Every week was a different adventure, besides the great and healthy food they fed us,we had the most awesome trainings and trainers! these trainers were well rounded, knowledgable, and empowered us with a wealth of resources. Everyone is not in the same mindset, just ingeneral in life, but if you want something outside of incaceration again, tht's the place to be. A place where opportunity is always available. Every meeting, as I glance around the table I smile knowing the hard non stop work these people do. Ms Soffiyah the best the new Director. They are always so inspiring. All the coalitions, Worth program, CCF, Steps ,I could go on. Every one there has a place in God's heart. At the end, he'll be there smiling too, saying "Well Done"
When I met Soffiyah Elijah about three years ago, she had just been appointed the first African American woman executive director of The Correctional Association of New York. I was taken by her enthusiastic commitment to carry forward the crucial work of the CA to reform the criminal justice system. It was clear that her experience as a practicing criminal lawyer and teacher at Harvard Law School make her exceptionally well qualified to lead the CA. The CA was founded in 1844 and really makes a meaningful difference in expanding programs in prison to rehabilitate and educate those caught in the criminal justice system and reduce recidivism. These goals are at the core of resolving poverty and inequity in our society.
The REconnect Project of the CA helped in my transformation. They allowed a bridge back to life. The women in the group were inspirational; we are still CONNECTED 10 years later. The mentors and staff involved with the project and the CA truly care about not only the work, but the people they serve. The topics of discssions were relevant and important to teaching us to advocate for ourselves, our families and our community. I speak highly of their organization wherever I go. I am forever indebted to them. Woot Woot CA!
After returning home from prison The Correctional Association of New York welcomed me and let me know that I mattered. Entering the Re-Connect program affored me the opportunity to be heard and to actually see real results. I have developed lifelong relationships with this orgainzation who are always available to assist with ANY situation one can encounter during re-entry or post re-entry. This is about the realist and HONEST Non-Profit that is sincere in its mission and never waivers or flip flops. The holistic approach and the sincerity in which this organization goes about its work is never changes. They are all the Real Deal. I transitoned years ago and I am still in-touch with my CA family. As a clinician who has worked at a few organization the CA is one of the ONLY agencies that is REAL
When I came home from Prison 8 yrs ago things looked grim. I enrolled in an Advocacy Leadership Program sponsored by the Correctional Assocations Women in Prison Project "RECONNECT" and I have been soaring every since !!!!! Today I am a Certified Alcohol Aubstance Abuse Counselor and I attend collge persuing adegree in Social Work. Without the Sincere Supporrt I recieved and still recieve at the CA I don't know where I would have ended up!!!! I am greatful for all the work they do !!!!!!
I highly recommend the correctional association to anyone who is looking to a better tomorrow in helping change lives. The correctional association has taught me how to stand strong and fight in what I believe in. Thank you! Belky
THe Correctional Association provides independent evidenced-based analysis and advocacy around the fundamental issues of incarceration and its uses in New York and by extension, in the country as a whole. Soffiyah Elijah is an inspirational leader of a highly dedicated and effective staff.
The Correctional Association of New York plays a vital role in ensuring that prisons are monitored by the citizenry and does an outstanding job advocating for fair and humane treatment.
This is a personal opinion and does not express the views of New York State's Unified Court System. I am a judge of the trial courts of the State of New York, assigned to the civil term, but I also preside over bail hearings in NYC Criminal Court about a half dozen times per year. I am also former chair of the New York chapter of the Women in Prison Committee of the National Association of Women Judges. In such capacity I have seen first hand the work of the Correctional Association, a unique organization with a 100 year old history. Mark Bennett, federal district court judge of Iowa, recently wrote an editorial criticizing mandatory minimum sentencing laws and their part in the current crisis in the prison system in our country , which incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any nation in the world. The Correctional Association through its mandate and cutting age problem solving advocacy, is tackling the crisis head on and forging a model for a truly just system of criminal laws.
The CA does wonderful work. They are supportive to the formerly incarcerated community and for that reason always have plenty of volunteers for any endeavor they undertake. They deserve to be merited. Carole Eady
The Correctional Association is probably the most exciting and participatory organization I have ever known. They are working on issues that affect the most marginalized people in our society. I have worked especially with their Women In Prison Project and cannot say enough about their vision for a safer and better life for those in prison, recently released and all of us. They are the one agency that is doing this work and they do it well. The CA makes sure that formerly incarcerated individuals have a voice and a way of advocating for the change they know makes the most sense. They have an impact on legislators and policy makers. Those individuals know that when the Women In Prison Project members show up that they know the issues, can speak well and are passionate about what the legislators and policymakers need to do. I am so pleased to work along side this great organization!
The Correctional Association, especially the womens Prison Project, is the only non profit monitoring and advocating for the conditions inside womens prisons. in fact, it seems to be the only group thinking about what it means to be a women serving time. They have advocated and been successful to make sure that women in labor are not shackled while they deliver a baby while incarcerated. They also realized that women's health is not being served especially women's reproductive health. If the CA were not around, our population in the prisons would be subject to far more injustices then they are already being penalized for. They are an exceptionally well run organization doing difficult work. I praise their tenacity and vision.
The Correctional Association's statutory authority to visit prisons has been used for 168 years to visit state prisons and to report to legislators and the public on prison conditions. It advocates for changes in the prisons that are based on the facts of prison life. Its reports on mental health, solitary confinement, drug programs and many other matters are based in significant part on interviews with inmates and observation of programs and facilities. These reports have been used as bases for important legislation and administrative reform. Its authority to visit prisons also opens a window on what is too often a closed and hidden world. This authority means that members of the public as well as professionals in the field can observe what happens in prisons and help improve conditions there. The presence of outside visitors, their questions and their observations help make prisons better places for inmates. From its origins in prison visiting, the CA has also taken on important advocacy roles in areas like juvenile justice and drug law reform which impact the criminal justice system. Its staff is knowledgeable and dedicated, with an executive director who represents the best the field has to offer. It is a first rate organization.
In reentry, I became involved with the Correctional Association when I was asked to present at Project Recconnect. As an Academic Counselor at the College Inititiative, a reentry program that assists formerly incarcerated people gain access to college, I provided information on how to pursue college, how to overcome the barriers, such as clearing up outstanding student loans, and provided a bit of inspiration because I too am formerly incarcerated who completed a graduate degree. That was the beginning of our relationship, but certainly not the end. I support such campaigns as, doemestic violence, bring back the bus, the rockefeller drug laws, and the women in prison project, just to name a few. And this is while I'm in reentry, while I was in prison, it was the Correctional Association who we wrote when rodents were taking of the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and we needed something done. I have a long standing history with the Correctional Association and while my work has taken me to Columbia University our work together is looking to change unfair systems. I am on Team Correctional Association!!!
ADVOCACY is the buzz word when describing the work of The Correctional Association of New York. Our organization Wakefield AARP Chapter #5396 has participated along with officers and members of NCNW North Bronx Section in the Northeast Bronx on bus trips to ALBANY. The Committee meetings cover areas of concern that brings information to local community organizations. Input from as many people young and old as possible is a goal I feel has been achieved by Correctional Association of New York.
The work that the CA does is so important to our nation and our world. In an age where it has become socially acceptable to openly discriminate against people behind bars, criminalize mental illness and lock up children with adults--the demand for change within our criminal justice system is higher than ever. The CA works to put an end to this oppression through policy and advocacy work, and is an incredible force that should be modeled throughout our country.