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New York City committed to closing the infamous Rikers Island by 2027. Today, however, the number of people in New York City jails is climbing, more than half of those incarcerated have a mental health diagnosis, and one in five has a serious mental illness. The jail is the largest mental health provider in the City and among the largest in the world, and the burdens of this dysfunctional system fall most heavily on Black and brown communities. The state of affairs is inhumane to those incarcerated, an obstacle to the City’s promise of closing Rikers, and a threat to the safety of people living with mental illness and New York more generally. Please join Lauren Jones, NCAJ's Legal and Policy Director, in this discussion with Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, Mental Health Court Judge Matthew D'Emic, Bronx Defenders' Deputy Executive Director Wesley Caines, and Fountain House Chief Strategic Growth Officer Dr. Ayesha Delany-Brumsey as we consider Less Jail, More Wellness: How NYC's Mental Health Response is Key to Closing Rikers.

Register here and join us from 6:30 to 8 pm on September 13th in Fordham Law School's Costantino Room, 150 West 62nd street, 2nd Floor (or, view online, link provided following registration).

Learn more about the National Center for Access to Justice and about our event cosponsors:

Recent Articles

Our New Report, "Ability to Pay: Closing the Access to Justice Gap with Policy Solutions for Unaffordable Fines and Fees"

Government imposes fines as punishment for everything from traffic and municipal code violations to felonies, and charges people fees on top of the fines as a means of financing such core functions as law enforcement, the court system, and other government operations. Routinely ordered without regard to a person’s ability to pay, the fines and fees for even a single incident can add up to thousands of dollars. People who can afford to pay can quickly close the case and move on with their lives. People unable to pay the sums, however, may face a wide range of ongoing harms, including more fees, civil judgments, driver’s license suspensions, revocation of voting rights, and even incarceration.  It shouldn’t be this way. 

Watch the Videos from NCAJ's Access to Justice Solutions Symposium of February 9, 2024

On February 9th, 2024, more than 500 peopled gathered or tuned in via stream to the AtJ Solutions Symposium. The sessions were videotaped that day. If you'd like to re-see what you saw, or see the sessions for the first time, you can do so at the links, below. Take a look, consider the progress of the access to justice movement, and join in the work to increase access to justice in America.

Update: View the Video from Webinar Introducing NCAJ's New Consumer Debt Litigation Index and Two Additional New Tools for Increasing Fairness in Consumer Debt Litigation

Update: View the Webinar (link below) from March 14, 2024, when NCAJ joined the Center for Public Health Law Research of Temple University Beasley School of Law and the National Consumer Law Center for NCLC's national webinar introducing these organizations' three new tools for increasing fairness in consumer debt litigation.

New “Consumer Debt Litigation Index” Ranks States on Best Policies for Access to Justice

The National Center for Access to Justice (NCAJ) at Fordham Law School today announced the release of the Consumer Debt Litigation Index, an on-line resource that demonstrates that every U.S. state and the District of Columbia lack essential legal standards to protect consumers from wrongful, abusive debt collection tactics that can lead to homelessness, family breakup, overwhelming stress and other devastating consequences for families and individuals. There are signs of progress and many states are trying to improve, but every state has a long way to go.