The Institute for Community Justice is a comprehensive prison services and reentry program providing health linkages, supportive services, education, and advocacy for individuals, families and communities impacted by mass incarceration.
The mission of ICJ is to serve any person impacted by mass incarceration by providing support services that empower those affected to thrive as their fullest selves. We envision a world free from mass incarceration where communities have equitable access to health, safety, justice, and the opportunity to design their freedom.
Our Reentry Center is designed to equip and empower individuals and their families who have been impacted by mass incarceration. Our reentry team supports individuals with accessing critical resources and information, and provides educational programs focused on skill-development, community/civic engagement, and advocacy.
Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak, our Reentry Center and Keyspot Computer Lab are currently closed to the public.
Standard operating hours when we reopen will be:
Reentry Center Hours: Open Monday through Friday 9 AM– 5 PM.
KEYSPOT Computer Lab Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday 1-5 PM.
ICJ facilitates career coaching, professional development, job readiness training and financial literacy education through classes, workshops and various apprentices and individualized mentorships.
Prison Linkages Program
ICJ offers linkages to medical care for individuals within the Philadelphia Department of Prisons (PDP). Prison linkage specialists also provide court advocacy, health education and reentry social services support.
MANN Up Peer Support and Empowerment
ICJ hosts a peer support and mentoring group for people who have experienced mass incarceration. We provide reentry support and peer empowerment in conjunction with the MANN Up Association, which works with 300+ men behind the walls at SCI Phoenix. The MANN Up Peer Support and Empowerment Group continues to meet virtually during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Prison Support Program
ICJ works with individuals during their incarceration by providing support and advocacy, and assists with discharge planning for those within the Philadelphia Department of Prisons and Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Assata Thomas, Director of the Institute for Community Justice
Assata Thomas is Director of the Institute for Community Justice (ICJ), a Program of Philadelphia FIGHT. As Director, Ms. Thomas oversees the effective execution of ICJ’s aims to provide support, education, and advocacy for individuals, families, and communities who are impacted by mass incarceration.
Ms. Thomas has over two decades of experience in the social services field which commenced with her training as a Corrections Officer with the State of New Jersey, during which time she held the distinction of having been the first female President of the Corrections Officers Training Academy of New Jersey. She left the NJ Department of Corrections in order to pursue studies at Rutgers University (and while still her raising children). Parallel to her studies she also worked part-time with a wide range of social services programs – from protecting troubled youth to aiding homeless veterans. Ms. Thomas received a BA Degree with honors in African American and Urban Studies (minor in Sociology). She thereafter was Director of a Camden-based re-entry program.
Ms. Thomas maintains an unflagging commitment to social justice and building a society emancipated from the socially inequitable and [calloused/profoundly destructive] system of mass incarceration; a society where even the most vulnerable communities have equal and unrestricted access to healthcare, to justice and to unqualified protection of their safety and security.
Ms. Thomas is a passionate advocate on behalf of those affected by mass incarceration; and, moreover, having lived through the experience of a felony conviction, is uniquely qualified to speak with credibility and authority to the issues facing all who have been affected by the system – such as the challenges faced by returning citizens for a fair chance at social rehabilitation, healthy reintegration back into society and the chance to (re)design their futures and destinies. Ms. Thomas’ personal trajectory and hard won successes fuel her passion to help others and they offer a concrete and inspiring example for others that, despite the odds, success is possible.