Founded with funding from Trinity Church Wall Street, the Credible Messenger Justice Center (CMJC) is a community-government partnership between the New York City Department of Probation, Community Connections for Youth, and the City University of New York. The Department of Probation actively draws on credible messengers to staff initiatives that improve outcomes for justice-involved young people. Community Connections for Youth is a community-based organization that has extensive experience training and sustaining credible messengers. The City University of New York offers a 16-credit Community Leadership Certificate program at the School of Labor and Urban Studies for credible messengers.
Credible Messengers are specially trained adults who have lived experiences with the criminal legal system. They mentor justice system–involved or at-risk young people. The CMJC serves as a training and research center, policy and practice thought leader and program incubator for the credible messenger mentoring approach. They have hosted a yearly conference that convenes practitioners from across the country, and they house an online research and resource hub for government and community organizations seeking to learn about and implement credible messenger initiatives.
CMJC has provided numerous trainings, held four annual conferences, launched individual and group mentoring opportunities in New York City, provided scholarships to New York City credible messengers seeking to begin or continue their education, offered access to crisis support and other resources to New York City credible messengers, and supported the incubation and launch of credible messenger initiatives nationwide. Eighteen teams from other cities have attended the New York City Immersion, leading to millions of dollars in funding for credible messenger mentoring initiatives across the country. The program’s success has inspired Mayor Adams to expand it so that every person in New York City on probation aged 21 or under will be partnered with a credible messenger to mentor and guide them.