Criminal Justice

Richard Gamarra

When Richard Gamarra was 16, a gun fell out of his backpack during class at a Catholic high school in Queens and he was arrested.

Flores Forbes Columbia University Community Affairs

Photo by Eileen Barroso

Flores Forbes is an urban planner who focuses on economic development in Columbia's local community, particularly Harlem.
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As the country mourned 49 deaths in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and wondered what could have been done to prevent the tragedy, Democrats and Republicans introduced gun-safety measures in the Senate.

Columbia is among a group of colleges and universities working to improve access to higher education for those with a criminal record.
For Samuel Roberts, all of New York City is his classroom. Students taking his seminar on the history of race and mass incarceration go to see holding cells and talk to people awaiting arraignment in the five boroughs.
Christia Mercer Columbia University

For 20 weeks over the spring and summer, philosophy professor Christia Mercer commuted 40 miles north of Morningside Heights to teach Literature Humanities at Taconic Correctional Facility.

The seminar in 401 Hamilton Hall focused on classic literary texts, including Homer’s Odyssey, Shakespeare’s Othello, and W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk. But this was no ordinary summer school class, and its students were not traditional collegians.

Dan-El Peralta Undocumented Book Cover

Dan-el Padilla Peralta feels an unusual connection to the former prisoners he taught this summer as part of Columbia’s Justice-in-Education initiative.

The seminar in 401 Hamilton Hall focused on classic literary texts, including Homer’s Odyssey, Shakespeare’s Othello, and W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk. But this was no ordinary summer school class, and its students were not traditional collegians.

Race Economics Dan O'Flaherty Columbia University

Brendan O’Flaherty was a teenager in Newark, N.J. in the 1960s, when the city was engulfed by racially charged political battles and violence.

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