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Sanctuary for Families Campus Advocates Project

The Campus Advocates Project provides legal consultations and representation to student survivors of gender-based violence, including sexual violence. Services are offered to students considering the Title IX process, the criminal/ civil justice system, or seeking advice regarding their legal options.

The Campus Advocates Project provides comprehensive, free, and trauma-informed attorney oversight for every case. To set up a consultation, please fill out the Sanctuary for Families Intake Form. Please contact campusadvocates@sffny.org if you have any questions.

Center for Social and Criminal Justice

The Center for Social and Criminal Justice seeks to advance our understanding of social and criminal justice institutions and their relations to and effects on social live. The Center explores practical and policy issues in social and criminal justice - including crime and punishment, race and sexual orientation, power, education, human rights and distribution of wealth - through instructional programming, campus and community outreach, research and engagement with professionals within the criminal justice system and those whose lives have been altered through contact with the criminal justice system.

Center Mission

The Center for Social and Criminal Justice, connected to the Department of Criminal Justice and the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, engages students in academic projects, sponsors events open to all of Mercy College and surrounding communities, informs students about educational and career opportunities, and works with social and criminal justice agencies in the community and across New York State. The Center conducts research projects with student participation - with a focus on social justice, collaborates with justice-related and service-based agencies in the community and hosts events such as film showings, public presentations, field trips and panel discussions to expose students and members of the community to current social and criminal justice issues. Interdisciplinary learning opportunities enable students to gain broad and critical perspectives to help prepare them for future careers, inside or outside the field of criminal justice.

Challenges of Social and Criminal Justice

Domestic

Among the difficult social issues we face in the United States are human rights issues that result from discrimination based on criminal history - as well as based on race, sex, sexual orientation, disability or religious affiliation. To address the disadvantaged status of some groups in society - including formerly incarcerated individuals - new policies and practices are shaped by legal developments, social interactions and community engagement. Education about social and criminal justice yields broader understanding and appreciation of human differences.

International

As the world becomes more connected, more than ever social and criminal justice represent pressing global concerns. Criminal networks - involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking and identity theft - currently operate beyond borders as immensely profitable international businesses, with devastating social effects that cross national boundaries.

Featured Stories

5th International Wrongful Conviction Day - October 2, 2019

Oct. 2nd is the International Wrongful Conviction Day - a worldwide movement of organizations and individuals across the world holding events to raise awareness about the problem of wrongful conviction and in support of those who have been exonerated, those who are still fighting for justice and their families and in support of those who advocate for legal reform, represent the wrongfully convicted pro bono, and provide services to them in various ways. One such event was held locally at the Pace University Law School (White Plains) in collaboration and sponsored by the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice and was moderated by Dr. Marina Sorochinski (co-director of the Center for Social and Criminal Justice and professor of Criminal Justice at Mercy College). Event panelists featured:

H Bosh Jr.: President of Made To Believe LLC Network and a radio personality on WOOC 105.3 FM in Troy, NY. A motivational speaker, H. Bosh Jr. speaks across the country, giving voice to a forgotten segment of the population; H Bosh Jr. was himself falsely accused but acquitted after a fierce legal fight.
Jeffrey Deskovic, M.A., J.D.: an internationally recognized wrongful conviction expert and founder of The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, which has freed 7 wrongfully convicted people and helped to pass 6 laws aimed at preventing wrongful convictions. Jeff was wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years before he was exonerated by DNA evidence. Jeff graduated law school in May 2019 in pursuit of his dream of exonerating others as an attorney.
Huwe M Burton: served 21 years for a murder he did not commit based upon a coerced, false confession obtained from him when he was 16 years old. He was exonerated this past year with the consent of the Bronx DA's Office. Huwe is a music consultant at The Fortune Society, marathoner and advocate for the innocent.
Terrance Lewis: was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated at 17 based upon police misconduct and due process violations. He served 21 years, 5 months, and 5 days prior to being exonerated on May 23, 2019.
David Dorfman J.D.: Professor of Law at the Elizabeth Haub Law School, who specializes in Criminal Law and Procedure. Professor Dorfman also teaches and supervises the Barbara Salken Criminal Justice clinic that represents indigent defendants charged with misdemeanor crimes in the Bronx.

With an audience of about 150 people, we also had special guests: Exoneree Anthony DiPippo (20 yrs); Felipe Rodriguez (27 yrs)- given clemency but fighting for exoneration; Advocate and radio personality Frank Vetro of the Frank Vetro Show, who is fighting for exoneration; Doreen MotherJustice Giuliano whose son John Giuca is wrongfully convicted and fighting for exoneration; Maria Velazquez whose son John Adrian Velazquez is fighting for exoneration.

Upcoming Events

Immigration Reform, the Status of the Unaccompanied Minors and the Trauma They Endure

Event date: Wednesday, February 26th 2020, 12pm-3pm

Event location: Rotunda, Mercy Hall, Dobbs Ferry Campus

More details TBA soon!

Please check back soon!
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Criminal Justice issues: 

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Research Projects

Check out current Faculty Research Projects at SSBS!

Wondering why get involved in research? Check out the Student Research FAQ!

Past Events

Event Date: October 30th, 2019 11:30-2:30pm

Event Location: Rotunda, Mercy Hall, Dobbs Ferry Campus

This event was a panel and discussion with top legal experts, victim advocates, and survivor-activists on a new form of interpersonal crime that emerged in the era of internet and social media. Cyber sexual abuse (what used to be called ‘revenge porn’) is when private/sexual images (or fabricated private images) are publicized on the internet by someone without the consent of the person whose image is being used. Until very recently, the legal system had no provision for punishing the offenders in those crimes, while the victims’ lives and reputations have been ruined, but as of July 23, 2019, NYS passed a bill that establishes such behavior as a criminal offense. Our panelists from the Sanctuary for Families presented an overview of this ‘modern crime’, what forms it takes, and discussed this cutting edge legislation and the anticipated change it will create in the lives of those affected.

The event was attended by over 50 members of the Mercy College Community.

Guilty until Proven Innocent? The Road to Justice from Coerced Confession to Wrongful Conviction to Exoneration

Event Date: April 8, 2019, 12pm-2:30pm

Event Location: Lecture Hall, Main Hall

This panel focused on a broad spectrum of issues that surround the biggest injustice in our society: the wrongful conviction of innocent people. Questions that were discussed include:

• Why do innocent people confess?

• How does a false confession snowball into a wrongful conviction?

• What does it take to overturn a conviction that was based on a coerced false confession?

• What issues do the exonerated individuals face when finally released?

• What help do they need to restore their lives?

• What can the members of the public do to help reduce the incidence of such injustice?

• What Criminal Justice reforms are necessary?