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Community Justice Programs

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office takes a proactive approach to crime prevention. In doing so, we have created the Community Justice Unit. This Unit is dedicated to creating and putting forth programs aimed to provide children and adolescents with positive alternatives and interventional strategies aimed at preventing delinquency. The Community Justice Unit engages the entire Essex County community by serving as a liaison between law enforcement and residents. The Unit promotes awareness about the role and functions of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Children & Adolescent Programs

The Community Justice Unit sponsors youth symposiums that address critical issues pertinent to young people; thus working to reduce risk factors of delinquency. Nearly five hundred middle and high school students from Essex County attend the full day conferences, which feature interactive workshops on making positive choices, the dangers of drugs and gangs along with ways to be safe while surfing the “Net”. Elementary school students learn about various careers in law, government and medicine through the Community Justice Unit’s “Project I C.A.N.” (I Can Achieve Now) program. Also, since 2000, the Community Justice Unit has conducted a unique five week Summer Intern Program to introduce rising high school seniors to various careers in law, law enforcement and local government. Please see below regarding the 2017 program.


The ECPO Community Justice Unit plans to offer a five-week summer internship program beginning July 5, 2018 through August 3, 2018 for high school students completing their junior year by June 2018. Thirty students who reside in Essex County will be chosen for the 2018 program. Program activities include learning about the role and function of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office; participating in New Jersey State Trooper Youth Week, a one week residential program; observing a jury trial and participating in a mock trial; working with a local law enforcement agency; and interfacing with the corporate and the community-based partners on the ECPO Community Justice Advisory Board. Throughout the summer internship program, interns will be exposed to various careers in law, law enforcement and government. Interns will also participate in cultural events.

Application Instructions and an Application Form can be viewed and downloaded using these links. Completed application packets MUST BE SENT BY MAIL and are due no later than March 16, 2018 to Nicole Graves Watson, Community Justice Coordinator, Office of the Essex County Prosecutor, 50 West Market Street, Third Floor, Newark, New Jersey 07102. NOTE: DUE DATE EXTENDED FROM MARCH 9 TO MARCH 16 DUE TO RECENT INCLEMENT WEATHER. Recommendation letters should be included with your application. The application form and recommendation letters must be signed, and thus CANNOT be sent by fax or e-mail. Incomplete applications will not be considered. If you require additional information please feel free to contact Mrs. Watson at (973) 621-4317.

Community Visibility

The Community Justice Unit wants to hear the issues that plague residents of Essex County. Armed with the assistance of local law enforcement agencies and non profit groups, the Unit addresses the needs of Essex County residents. Representatives from the Unit attend block association meetings and community forums to address issues of crime. The Unit partners with community members throughout Essex County in an effort to shed light on the positive side of law enforcement.

Speaker’s Bureau

Members from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office provide workshops on a range of topics for schools and local organizations. Workshops on bullying, child abuse, domestic violence, gang awareness, Internet safety, juvenile justice, victimization and an overview of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office are provided by experts in their field.

2016 Community Justice Unit Highlights

In 2016, the Community Justice Unit continued to promote public awareness of the role and function of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. By attending community meetings to address issues related to crime, substance abuse and crime prevention, the Unit serves as a liaison between law enforcement and the residents of Essex County. The Unit remains dedicated to creating and executing programs aimed at offering children and teens positive alternatives and interventional strategies aimed at preventing delinquency.

The Community Justice Unit provided workshops to nearly 5,000 Essex County residents in 2016!

Workshop topics included:

  • Bullying
  • Careers in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Criminal Justice System
  • Expungements
  • Gang Awareness
  • Human Trafficking
  • Internet Safety
  • Overview of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office

This was the 15th consecutive year in which ECPO held a 5-week summer internship program to expose high school students to careers in law, law enforcement and government. Thirty high school juniors from Essex County participated in this unique program where they toured local and federal law enforcement agencies, participated in a mock trial, learned about local and state government, attended Trooper Youth Week with the New Jersey State Police and participated in cultural trips.

Other Community Justice highlights from 2016 include:

  • Held a full day female youth empowerment conference, “Being Inspired & Empowered” to engage young women and empower them to make positive choices to become leaders in their communities. Over 200 female high school students from Essex County attended this full day event, which was held at Rutgers University’s School of Criminal Justice.
  • Provided a Career Day experience entitled: Project I Can Achieve Now! (I.C.A.N.) on October 21st to over 70 middle school students from Fairview Elementary School in Bloomfield, University Heights Charter in Newark and Links Charter School in Newark. Students were exposed to careers in law, law enforcement and local government. Students received a civics lesson and were introduced to how local government works. Students met with representatives from ECPO, the Essex County Freeholders Office, Essex County Executive’s Office, Essex County Sheriff’s Department and the Internal Revenue Service. In addition; students participated in a mock election in recognition of the upcoming presidential election.
  • Partnered with ADAPT (Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County ) and Essex County’s Department of Health Services on October 6 to provide a half day information session on substance abuse resources to clergy members. The half-day session was held at Life Christian Church in West Orange.
  • Held a youth conference entitled: “What’s it All About?” World Against Violence (W.A.V.) to address issues affecting middle school students. Over 500 middle school students from Essex County attended the full day event at Caldwell University on December 20th. Students participated in workshops on making positive choices, nutrition, teen dating, and Cyber-Safety. Over thirty representatives from various social service and youth agencies provided students with information on educational and recreational resources.

To request additional information on community outreach programs or to request a speaker at your event, feel free to contact Nicole Graves-Watson, Community Justice Coordinator at (973) 621-4317.

Have an Essex County crime tip? Call: 877-TIPS-4-EC (877-847-7432) or e-mail: HomicideTips@njecpo.org Disclaimer