The New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC) has announced the renovation of its new Community Resource Center (CRC) at Kearny Point. The NJRC is a nonprofit committed to providing critically needed services to formerly incarcerated individuals, empowering them to achieve healthy self-sufficiency, thereby reducing recidivism and fostering safer communities.
The new CRC, housed at 9 Basin Drive, will be unique to other NJRC sites, specifically working with individuals who are on parole. Overlooking the Hackensack River, the CRC features colorful wall-to-ceiling photographs, graphics, and quotes with historical and cultural significance. Among the visuals are the Statue of Liberty, historical photographs of South Kearny and its ship workers, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a map of Kearny Point and the surrounding area. The imagery and quotes are meant to invoke inspiration in NJRC clients as they reenter society and prepare for employment opportunities. All of the interiors were designed by WXY architecture + urban design.
“The Community Resource Center is a state of the art resource for persons returning from prison,” said Jim McGreevey, Chairman, NJRC. “In keeping with the creative spirit of Kearny Point, the space captures the history of the place in design and photograph, while providing for a modern, efficient computerized training center.”
In one of the most environmentally progressive and economically significant adaptive reuse initiatives in the country, Hugo Neu is reinventing Kearny Point as a modern workplace home to a diverse community of pioneering businesses. Hugo Neu launched the initiative in 2016 with the mission of providing new economic opportunities for a diverse range of businesses and individuals in the region. The first structure to be revitalized as part of the plan, Building 78, now houses over 100 small businesses, more than 70 percent of which are minority or women-owned.
The CRC has a proven track record of providing economic opportunities in line with this vision. At the CRC to date, there is a 64.7 percent employment rate and a 16 percent recidivism rate. The CRC’s employment rate is calculated by the number of work eligible clients who have jobs, while recidivism is measured by how many clients get rearrested or have a warrant issued while enrolled at the CRC. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics in a 2005 study, 67.8 percent of released prisoners in 30 states were rearrested within three years of release. Of those rearrested, 56.7 percent had been arrested by the end of the first year. Comparatively, the NJRC as a whole has a recidivism rate of about 19.6 percent one year after release and a 56 percent employment rate.
More about Kearny Point
During World War I and II, Kearny Point was once one of the world’s most prolific shipyards when it operated as the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, where as many as 30,000 people came to work each day. Today, Hugo Neu is transforming the 130-acre industrial complex into a new mixed-use waterfront destination – one that embraces the site’s history and provides opportunities for the businesses of the new economy. Its renewed work environment is situated only minutes from Manhattan, but comes at a fraction of the cost of leasing in New York City, Newark, Hoboken or Jersey City.
In total, the Kearny Point project will reactivate more than three million square feet of industrial space for more than 5,000 jobs, making it one of the largest and most economically significant redevelopments in the region. In subsequent phases, Kearny Point will include a host of indoor/outdoor common areas, including a living shoreline and public waterfront promenade and a restored marina.
The complex offers a host of unique features, including dedicated trailer-loading area for ground-floor shipping and receiving, two passenger freight elevators, and high-speed Wi-Fi and phone capabilities. Kearny Point is also a pet-friendly community, a policy that complements its friendly, relaxed atmosphere.