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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Correctional Association of New York

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Crime & Law

Mission: The driving force of our work is a belief in the inherent dignity of all human beings. We possess a deep faith in the human capacity for change. We advocate for a justice system that holds a person accountable for a crime yet does not condemn an entire life based on a person's worst act. We support policies and programs that give people a second chance — or, as in some cases, the first opportunity in their life — to meet their potential and positively integrate into society. Through monitoring, research, public education and policy recommendations, the Correctional Association strives to make the administration of justice in New York State more fair, efficient and humane.

Results: A few examples of our other policy successes over the last decade include: -The SHU Exclusion Law, prohibiting the placement of incarcerated individuals with severe mental illness in solitary confinement and mandating the creation of more humane residential mental health units; -The Medicaid Suspension Law, enabling incarcerated individuals to secure Medicaid coverage more expeditiously upon release from prison; -The Safe Harbor Act, protecting sexually exploited minors from prosecution and incarceration for prostitution; -The creation and implementation of a landmark anti-discrimination policy aimed at protecting incarcerated LGBTQ youth from harassment and abuse; -The DOH Oversight Law, requiring the Department of Health to monitor HIV and hepatitis C care in New York State prisons and jails. -The Anti-Shackling Law, outlawing the use of shackles on pregnant women who are incarcerated during labor and after delivery; -Rockefeller Drug Law reform, a set of significant reforms marking the beginning of the end of New York’s notorious, racially-biased mandatory-minimum sentencing statutes; -The ASFA Expanded Discretion Law, allowing foster care workers discretion to delay filing for the permanent termination of parental rights if a parent is incarcerated or in drug treatment.

Community Stories

17 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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"

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Carole E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had an absolutely amazing time working with the CA--definitely one the best volunteer experiences I've ever had. I think that it is rare to find an organization that accomplishes advocacy by working externally on the rights of women in, but which is also intimately connected with the issue through regular contact with incarcerated women. Everyone I interacted with was incredibly kind, dedicated, and above all, passionate.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have never worked with such an amazing group of people like those at the CA. Each and every person at the CA is passionate about their work and puts forth their greatest efforts to make New York prison conditions more rehabilitative, fairer and safer. During my seven months working for the CA, I visited five NYS prisons, drafted reports on our observations and recommendations for improvements, lobbied in Albany three times, published an article on substance abuse treatment in NYS prisons, visited NYC arraignment holding cells, and wrote countless letters to inmates answering questions and sending them resources. Every day was a busy one, but I knew I was truly helping individuals turn their lives around.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned for the Correctional Association of New York's Women in Prison Project during the summer of 2010. During my time there, I was truly inspired by the CA's work and its passionate staff. I learned about prison conditions and the issues that women face in prison, such as access to adequate medical care. The CA advocates tirelessly to create a criminal justice system that treats persons justly and humanely. I was proud to be part of the CA and enjoyed working with such wonderful people.

Cory R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My CA internship with ReConnect helped launched my career in criminal justice. Today I am pursuing my doctorate and teaching at John Jay.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned with the Correctional Association a few summers ago and really enjoyed my time there. I worked with a dynamic group of leaders and was able to gain a wide range of experiences, particularly as an intern. I think this organization does great work and all of its members are very passionate about improving prisoner's rights.

Elizabeth50

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I helped by writing preliminary responses to prisoners' letters, by visiting three different prisons, by trying to gather support for changes in the law on judicial discretion. I have attended many workshops and other events. I think th enew director is superb. Everyone at CA is impressive in their personal warmth and enthusiastic commitment to the cause. CA fulfills its mission with passion and creativity and rigor. I can't praise them highly enough.

Alicia13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of the Coalition for Women Prisoners since 2005 and I have had the pleasure to meet other people who are passionate about changing the criminal justice system. The work that the Correctional Association does is unique and goes beyond most criminal justice agencies.

Erika N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a Social Work intern for my Masters Placement during my time at Columbia School of Social Work. The level of expertise, passion, and dedication by the staff of Correctional Association was incredible. I learned tremendously from my time there, not only because I was able to work on many of the critical and varied issues that the CA deals with-from such a progressive and well-rounded perspective-but also because I was able to observe and speak with talented staff. I truly believe that the CA is doing work from a model of anti-oppression and with truest dedication to ensuring the human rights, dignity, and well-being of all individuals directly impacted by their work and the community at large. My time there has truly made a lasting impact and informs the way I do my work as a Social Worker and an activist now, where I want to go in my career, and the policies and values I support. The CA is amazing!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I interned at CA over a decade ago when I was a college student. I learned so much about local and state politics, about coalition and collaboration, and, of course, about the criminal justice system. The work of CA matters. It is one of the rare organizations that engages in policy and advocacy, but also has hands and feet on the ground.