A Think Tank for Prosecutors

A new partnership between John Jay College and the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney’s Office will provide the foundation for establishing an Institute for Innovation in Prosecution, a think tank for the development of new responses to criminal justice challenges.

Affiliated with John Jay’s National Network for Safe Communities, the IIP is being funded with a three-year, $3-million from the Manhattan D.A.’s Office, with those funds coming from settlements  with international banks that violated U.S. sanctions.

The IIP will bring together prosecutors, academics, criminal justice officials and other stakeholders to address current and emerging issues. The institute aims to elevate the role and voice of district attorneys in addressing critical issues; advance national standards of excellence; promote intelligence-driven prosecution; reduce unnecessary confinement; support effective crime reduction efforts, and increase public trust in the criminal justice system.

“The partnership between John Jay College and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will provide enormous value to prosecutors’ offices the country,” said John Jay President Jeremy Travis, who will co-chair the institute’s advisory board along with Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr. The board will consist of individuals who are currently leading reforms in the criminal justice system nationwide, including practitioners, academics and prominent community and civil rights figures.

A suite of specific, mission-related program offerings will be developed by the institute to serve the professional development needs of newly elected district attorneys as well as mid-level prosecutors and bureau chiefs. Topics may include data-driven decision making, understanding risk assessment tools, and approaches to racial equity and fairness.

In addition, thought leaders in the field will be chosen to participate in semiannual Executive Forums aimed at developing innovative and effective policy and practice approaches. The forums will provide a think-tank environment for the prosecution field. The IIP will also develop problem-oriented action research partnerships focusing on particular substantive issues that are central to the practice of prosecution.

John Jay’s Newest Global Partners in Education

A number of new student exchanges, visiting faculty opportunities and joint research projects are on tap following the recent signing of partnership agreements between John Jay College and institutions in China and Taiwan.

In August, President Jeremy Travis traveled to the two countries along with Professor of Public Management Elaine Yi Lu and Distinguished Professor of Sociology Henry Pontell to sign several agreements and participate in academic conferences. The agreements will create or expand joint educational initiatives with China’s Public Security University, Beijing Normal University, Taiwan’s Central Police University and the National Police Agency of Taiwan.

“John Jay is excited to partner with these premier institutions to offer students and faculty unique educational and research opportunities. These multifaceted partnerships represent our vision for an interconnected and collaborative global future,” said President Travis.

John Jay College and Beijing Normal University will jointly develop the BNU China-US Center on Forensic Psychology. John Jay will assist with an implementation framework for the center, which will enable BNU to explore an area of study that is relatively unknown in China.

As part of the agreement, John Jay College will collaborate on the translation of classical works in forensic psychology, allow BNU doctoral students to take classes at John Jay, sponsor workshops in Beijing and New York City on cutting-edge issues in forensic psychology, provide opportunities for collaborative research and presentations among faculty, and explore training protocols on best practices for police, judges and correctional officials in China.

John Jay also established a student exchange with the Public Security University that expands on a previous Memorandum of Understanding focused on faculty collaborations. The new exchange will allow Chinese graduate and undergraduate students to study and pursue degrees at John Jay and establish opportunities for John Jay students to study at the Public Security University.

In Taipei, Taiwan, the Central Police University (CPU) and John Jay College co-hosted the Global Summit on Police Reform, where President Travis delivered the keynote address. John Jay and CPU have an agreement to develop student exchanges and plan further collaboration to establish an annual scholarly symposium on policing and public management. In addition, John Jay College has created a new partnership with Taiwan’s National Police Agency to enable police officers to pursue graduate degrees at John Jay.

Brooklyn Bridging

Kenneth P. Thompson, a John Jay alumnus (B.A., ’89) and District Attorney of Kings County (Brooklyn), helped launch the yearlong Bridging the Divide initiative when he delivered the 25th annual Lloyd Sealy Lecture on Sept. 29. Speaking before a capacity audience in the Moot Court, Thompson’s keynote address focused on “The Role of Law Enforcement in Ensuring Justice Is Delivered.” Among those on hand for the milestone event, which was co-sponsored by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), were (l.-r.) Tiffany Wheatland, Adjunct Professor of Africana Studies; C. Jama Adams, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Africana Studies; District Attorney Thompson; Gregory A. Thomas, National President of NOBLE; Rulisa Galloway-Perry, Chief of Staff to President Jeremy Travis; Delores Jones-Brown, Professor, Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration; President Travis.


Serving Up an App to Returning Prisoners:
Computer Science Students Win AT&T Technology Prize

Two John Jay seniors, Marta Orlowska and Nyvia De Jesus, recently put their computer science skills to the test against a room full of professionals and won major prizes at the AT&T Wireless Women in Technology Hackathon for Good, held in New York City on Sept. 19.

Working with two professional technology developers, the Computer Science majors developed an app, Jailbreak My Life, that serves as a mobile resource center for returning prisoners — a project that fits well with John Jay's initiatives on reintegrating arrested or incarcerated youth. The app used the Google Maps application program interface (API) to show where the user was relative to essential resources such as food, jobs, free tutoring or health care.

Evan Misshula, an instructor and advisor to the Computer Science Club, said it was no surprise that John Jay students would choose a socially relevant mobile application that combined computing and criminal justice. "Our students are often much better than many developers at seeing the large overlap between policing, incarceration and computational problems," Misshula noted. "Accomplishing so much in such a short amount of time is truly an outstanding achievement for these emerging leaders in computer science and criminal justice."

In addition to using the Google Maps API, the students’ app, created in only six hours, used a thoroughly modern stack of HTML5, React and Node JavaScript programming languages. Asked how they could code in a language John Jay doesn't teach, Orlowska said: "It's not the language that is important. At John Jay, I got really good training in the fundamentals like data structures and source control. With that background and a great coding partner, it was easy to contribute in just a few hours." Meanwhile, De Jesus was learning how to leverage the Google Maps API to incorporate real-time geographic information system data into their application, a task that no other team mastered over the course of the event.

The John Jay major in Computer Science and Information Security provides a foundation needed to understand and secure modern computer systems, networks and a range of digital technologies. Core courses introduce students to the fundamentals of computing, including software development, operating systems and networks. The program focuses on computer and network security and forensic analysis of cyber intrusions.

Fortune Society Archives Find a Home at John Jay

The Fortune Society — the nearly 50-year-old nonprofit organization that works to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration — has donated its extensive archive of internal documents, photos, videos and published materials to the Special Collections of John Jay’s Lloyd Sealy Library.

“David Rothenberg and his founding of the Fortune Society in 1967 ushered in a new era of an attitude toward punishment that emphasized methods of reentry and reintegration of ex-prisoners into society over retribution,” said Larry Sullivan, Associate Dean and Chief Librarian at John Jay. “His movement and practices have grown to the point where they play the dominant role in dealing with the formerly incarcerated. The society’s papers are a most valuable addition to John Jay’s world renowned criminal justice special collections and criminal justice research resources.”

The Sealy Library houses the world’s foremost collection of criminal justice materials. With this new donation, the history of the Fortune Society will be made accessible to the public, current and future John Jay students, and scholars interested in criminal justice and reentry.

The Fortune Society archives will be arranged by subject, an index to the collection will be produced, and the organization’s newsletter “Fortune News” will be digitized. Over time, the society will update the collection with recently produced material.

Bringing History to the Incarcerated

The Sealy Library was not the only recent John Jay beneficiary of a generous literary bequest. In September, the family of the late Dr. Manning Marable, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who received an honorary doctorate from John Jay College in 2006, donated his collection of authored books to John Jay’s Prison-to-College Pipeline (P2CP) initiative at the upstate Otisville Correctional Facility.

Marable, who died in April 2011 at age 60, was a professor of African-American studies at Columbia University. He had informed his family that one of his passing wishes was to make his work available to incarcerated individuals.

Professor Baz Dreisinger, the Academic Director of the P2CP program, said Marable’s “powerful donation” would be housed in the Otisville classroom library. “The books will be deeply valued on so many levels,” said Dreisinger, “particularly with the knowledge that Professor Marable himself wanted them to be there.”

John Jay President Jeremy Travis recalled having had the opportunity to work with Marable on issues of mass incarceration and prisoner reentry. In a note to Marable’s widow, Leith Mullings, a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University Graduate Center, President Travis said of the late historian’s gift, “For us to receive his books and facilitate their installation in a prison where they can educate the next generation is a particular honor.”

Marable was the author of 15 books. His last, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, was published shortly after his death, and earned him the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in History.


Showing the Love:
Professor Murray Honored with Named Classroom

Family members were an important part of the celebration at the classroom renaming in honor of Professor Bettina Murray. Pictured from left are her daughter, Dr. Renee Tobin; granddaughters Rory, Farrah and Brean Tobin; and Professor Murray.

One would be quite hard-pressed to contest Professor Bettina Murray’s service to and love for John Jay, which has been displayed in numerous ways over the course of her 19 years on the faculty. On Oct. 7, that special relationship was formally acknowledged with the dedication of a classroom in her honor.

Room 1.107 in the College’s new building was filled with friends, family and honored guests as President Jeremy Travis paid tribute to Murray, a member of the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts and, from 2002-2015, a trustee of the John Jay College Foundation. “She is a long-time supporter of the College whose lifetime giving and personal fundraising efforts have made an immeasurable impact on John Jay,” Travis said.

As guests raised a toast to the professor’s “great generosity and service to John Jay and its students,” a plaque was unveiled to officially name the “Dr. Bettina P. Murray Classroom.” Murray admitted to being deeply moved by the classroom dedication, which she said came as a complete surprise. “I could go so far as to say it was one of the highlights of my life, as teaching John Jay’s students and being involved with the College has meant so much to me over the years,” she said afterward.

Murray earned her Ph.D. from Fordham University, to go along with three master’s degrees from Columbia University Teachers’ College and Long Island University. Her scholarship focuses on language, literacy and learning, with a particular emphasis on English as a second language. In a neat bit of coincidence, Murray graduated from the same doctoral program at Fordham, and at the same time, as her daughter, Renee Tobin.
International students have long had a special place in Murray’s heart — an affection that predates her arrival at John Jay in 1996. Her father was a key figure in the international edition of Time-Life, and she grew up in a household frequented by foreign visitors. She helped found and remains a long-time supporter of the Jerry McCabe Fellowship program for members of Ireland’s national police force to pursue graduate degrees at John Jay. She also founded the A. Brean Murray Scholarships, named in memory of her late husband, which supports immigrant undergraduate students.

Students from Ireland, Greece, China and Israel were among the invited guests at the classroom dedication. In a further tribute to Murray’s international outreach, the attendees also included Ireland’s deputy consul general in New York.

Yet it is students in general who make the typically upbeat Professor Murray practically effervesce. “My greatest love has been being involved with the John Jay students,” she said. “I find them to be bright, diversified and hard-working, and I have learned so much from them over the years. “They are very committed to forming a world that is better than the one they see presently, and they are truly ‘fierce advocates for justice.’”


Welcome Back!

On Sept. 28, students and faculty members from John Jay’s most recent study-abroad programs were feted in President Jeremy Travis’s office, where they shared the high points of their overseas adventures. The winter- and summer-session programs were held in Cuba, Spain, Indonesia, Tanzania, Germany and Italy, under the tutelage of faculty that included Professors Lisandro Perez, Rosemary Barberet, Chitra Raghavan and Crystal Leigh Endsley.


Faculty/Staff Notes

On Board
Charles Davidson (Academic Affairs) is the new Director of the Pre Law Institute and the Center for Post-Graduate Opportunities and Preparation. For the past two years, Davidson has served as Director of John Jay’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching. He holds a law degree as well as a Ph.D. in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies.

Daniel Matos (Enrollment Management) has been named as John Jay’s Registrar. Matos, a John Jay alumnus (B.A., ’97), has been Senior Registrar at City College since March 2012. He previously served as University Vice President for Student Services at American University of Antigua, Registrar at the University of Medicine and Health Services in St. Kitts, among other positions. He was also Assistant Registrar at John Jay for six years.

Sarah Morgano (Marketing and Development) has joined the Office of Communications as the new Social Media Manager. Morgano comes to John Jay from CUNY’s Academic Commons and School of Professional Studies. As the Community Facilitator at the Academic Commons, she managed social media accounts, contributed posts and blogs, and provided technical assistance. At the School of Professional Studies, she managed the e-portfolio platform and offered training to faculty and student users.

Presenting. . .
Susan Opotow (Sociology) was an invited speaker at a workshop on "Transitional Justice and Climate: Addressing Conflicts between Historical Responsibility and Future-Oriented Climate Action,” held Sept. 21 in The Hague, the Netherlands. The workshop, a small-group meeting of climate change experts, was sponsored by Climate Strategies and The Hague Institute for Global Justice.

Silvia Mazzula (Latin American and Latina/o Studies) appeared on the syndicated Steve Harvey Show on Sept. 18 for a talk on “Race and America.” 

Maki Haberfeld (Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration) was a guest speaker on Sept. 28 at Columbia University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, as part of a mini-conference on Corruption in Sports. Haberfeld is co-editor of the book Match-Fixing in International Sports (Springer, 2013).

The Printed Page
Peter Moskos (Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration) had his commentary "The complexities of traffic stops, from a police officer’s perspective," published in the Washington Post on July 29 Click here to read the op-ed.

Thalia Vrachopoulos (Art and Music) was the subject of a feature interview in the Huffington Post on Sept. 22, which focused on her curatorial work with the John Jay President’s Gallery and the Anya and Andrew ShivaGallery. Click here to read the interview.

Javier Osorio (Political Science), along with colleagues at other institutions, has been awarded a three-year $1.49-million National Science Foundation grant for the project, "Modernizing Political Event Data for Big Data Social Science Research." Some of the grant award is allocated for the hiring of John Jay undergraduates as research assistants.

Jeremy Travis (President) has been named co-chair of the CUNY Experiential Learning Task Force, created in September by Chancellor James Milliken. Formed pursuant to state law, the task force consists of campus presidents, provosts, faculty and student representatives, and student affairs and central office administrators. The task force, also co-chaired by Suri Duitch, University Dean for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, will draft and issue its plan by next spring.


Class Notes

Jonah Triebwasser (BS ’72) has been elected as third vice president of the New York State Magistrates Association. He is the Town and Village Justice of Red Hook, N.Y.

LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson (BA ’75) a trustee of the John Jay College Foundation Board, recently earned a new credential. She is now a Board-Certified Genealogist.

William F. Walsh (BA ’73, MA ’76) is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Louisville (Ky.), and retired as Director of the Southern Police Institute. Walsh notes: “I have had a successful career as an educator at two major universities thanks to John Jay College of Criminal Justice.”  

Evelyn J. Laporte (BS ’79, MA ’81), a New York State Supreme Court Justice, was the keynote speaker at the third annual Kings County Family Court Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. Laporte was elected to the state Supreme Court for the Second District in 2014.

Robert Rahn (MPA ’81) and his partner, Kim Anklin, have received the highest award from the New Jersey Licensed Private Investigators Association, the 2014 Investigator of the Year Award. Rahn and Anklin made national headlines for their investigative work in winning the exoneration of Jonathan Fleming, a Brooklyn man who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 25 years.

Agnes Chan (BA ’82), who served as an NYPD officer and detective for 20 years before retiring in September 2000, was recognized as a trailblazer for the Asian American  members of the department in  a recent NBC News report. The NYPD’s first female Asian American officer, Chan walked a beat in Spanish Harlem, then in Chinatown, and later worked in units that investigated terrorism, gangs and organized crime.

Daniel Golebiewski (BA ’13) received his master’s degree in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University in May, and is now in the doctoral program in Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center, with a five-year tuition fellowship under the advisement of John Jay Professor George Andreopoulos. Golebiewski is also the new Assistant to the Director at John Jay’s Center for International Human Rights.

Kryst E. Cedeno (BA’15) is working at the New York State Psychiatric Institute as a research assistant for Dr. Neil K. Aggarwal. They are conducting a study on the importance of clinician cultural competency when providing services to ethnic and racial minorities suffering from mental illness, and how this affects rapport, treatment initiation and continuation.

In Memoriam
John P. McKee (BS ’01) died Sept. 12 of 9/11-related illness at his home in Lynbrook, N.Y., at age 48. A first responder who was diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2012, McKee was a former City University of New York deputy chief of public safety.  He started at CUNY’s Public Safety Department in 1992 as a sergeant assigned to the City College of New York. After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, McKee worked at Ground Zero for three days providing security, searching for victims and helping to manage CUNY’s response.