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Criminal Justice Advocacy Program

What is Criminal Justice Advocacy?

There are at least 25,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the nation's prisons, and some studies indicate that the actual number may be twice that. This means that approximately 1 out of every 20 prisoners in the United States has a developmental disability. Offenders with a developmental disability face certain disadvantages at various stages while involved with the criminal justice system. The Criminal Justice Advocacy Program (CJAP) provides alternatives to incarceration on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities who are defendants in the criminal justice system, and is the only program of its kind in New Jersey.

The CJAP serves as a clearinghouse for information about offenders, victims and witnesses with developmental disabilities and serves as a liaison between the criminal justice and human service systems, monitoring the quality of care and service provided to those with developmental disabilities as they move from one system to another.

Please be advised that The Criminal Justice Advocacy Program does not provide legal advice or services. Legal service references can be found here. For more on what we do and how we can help, please click here.

View our program brochures below:

Additional Material:

Our Intake and Release of Information Form is required to advocate for an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities that has been incarcerated and/or currently has pending charges.  Please return the completed forms to or via fax # 732.733.6804.  Download our Intake and Release of Information Form.

What does developmental disabilities include?

U.S. Department of Justice - Bureau of Justice Statistics
Disabilities Among Prison and Jail Inmates

Equal Justice Talks

From the Criminal Justice Advocacy Program of

The Arc of New Jersey

This monthly webinar series hosted by The Criminal Justice Program presents experts on a broad range of issues related to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who become involved in the criminal justice system as defendants, victims and witnesses.  On the Third Thursday of each month, from 2pm to 3pm EST, you can register free of charge to hear live presentations about Medicaid/SSI rules and regulations as they apply to people with criminal histories; sexual civil rights; cognitive capacity to consent; guardianship issues; defending the client with disabilities; interview techniques when working with a person with disabilities and many other topics.

Equal Justice Talks Webinar Series # 2

Topic:  Representing the Criminal Defendant with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Speaker:  Elizabeth Kelley, Esq., Criminal Defense Lawyer

When: Thursday October 17, 2019

View flyer: Click here

Where to register: Click here


Looking for past webinars??  Click here!!

Never miss a webinar again! Click here to receive future webinar announcements

Resources & Material

  • NJ Courts Link, Applying for Guardianship, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, NJ Courts Self Help Resource Center, Public Defender Application for Municipal Court, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services- Request for Fee Waiver, A Guide For attorneys to assist with individuals with I/DD who become involved in the criminal justice system, New Jersey County Jails Resources, and Crisis Resource Contacts

  • DDD / DMHS / CCW- How they may be helpful. CCW Application Fact Sheet and CCW Renewal Fact Sheet, Directory of Mental Health Services link, Directions to the New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services, DDD Intake Application - in both English and Spanish

  • How to Apply for Guardianship of the Person of an Individual Eligible for Services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), Personal Health Record and Medical History Forms in English & Spanish, The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute link, NJ Courts - Self Help Resource Center, Understanding the DDD Eligibility Process, Family guide for navigating the NJ Service System for an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Catholic Charities Transitional Housing Program Application, Transportation Option in NJ, Choosing a Support Coordinator, Support Coordination Agencies List, Support Coordination Agency Selection Form

  • New Jersey Sexual Assault Education and Prevention Resources, New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry List, Type of problems law enforcement may have while work with an sexual offender with an I/DD. Why some individuals with an I/DD have inappropriate sexual behavior. Megan's Law information and resources. Resources & Information on The Arc of US: National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability and ATSA (Association for treatment on sexual abusers).

  • Our current Equal Justice Talks webinar series runs from September 2017 to June 2018. All recordings and slides previously recorded are available for viewing, as well as archived webinars recordings and slides from the 2016/17 series. This project is cosponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation and made possible through funding from the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey.

Court & Lawyer Referral Services

Jessica Oppenheim, Director

CJAP Staff Contact Information