Institute for Community Justice

Institute for Community Justice

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.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: The Institute for Community Justice is doing its part to help people being released from jails due to COVID-19. We have a hotline set up for anyone in need of healthcare and other resources upon release. Please contact our 24-hour hotline at 833-763-4448 if you or anyone you know is in need of reentry support.

Meet The Director

Assata Thomas
Assata Thomas, Director, ICJ

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.

Ms. Thomas has partnered with several grass-root organizations rooted in social justice, criminal justice reform, and ending death by incarceration. She continues to demonstrate her civic advocacy through Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.


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.

Spotlight On

Karam Mounzer, MD

Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring.

Learn More about Spotlight On
Dr. Karam Mounzer

Dr. Mario Cruz

Dr. Mario CruzDr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who serves as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He has presented and/or published in the fields of community violence and domestic violence prevention, quality improvement, behavioral health, curriculum development and mentorship. In 2019 he received the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Award for Innovations in Healthcare.

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