Critical Criminal Justice Alliance takes new approach to conversation on campus


Photo courtesy of Kayla Mutchler.

Members of the CCJA meet in Kaplan 105 during their weekly meeting, West Haven, Feb. 1, 2022.

The newest criminal justice organization at the University of New Haven, the Critical Criminal Justice Alliance (CCJA), has hit the ground running, working towards, as their president Malloy Ferrick said, “creating a generation that knows how to improve the system that we created.”

The CCJA is a club for students looking to further their exploration into the criminal justice system and to meet others to engage in an open conversation about issues within it.

Ferrick, a senior criminal justice major, and vice president Kira Litchblau, a junior criminal justice major, said they hope the CCJA becomes a space that is open for students of all majors in order to “give everyone on this campus the opportunity to come talk about issues they see in the system in a safe space.”

When discussing what differentiates them from other criminal justice-centered organizations on campus, Lichtblau said, “We felt that the other organizations were catering more towards professional development structure and there wasn’t really a space to just talk about and be critical of issues and voice your opinions.”

The CCJA has begun discussing the history of policing and the origins of mass incarceration.

The CCJA is hoping to facilitate an environment surrounded by education this semester through using the criminal justice system to educate on the “intricacies of the system in order to begin connecting the student population with each part of society,” said Litchblau.

The leaders of CCJA said that the current criminal justice system is one that this generation must learn to live in, and therefore those in the student population must “know how to interact” with it.

Future goals for the CCJA include integrating guest speakers who can provide insight into the criminal justice system that undergraduate students have yet to experience. Their executive board is working with advisor Kevin Barnes-Ceeney to facilitate broader discussions with these external connections.

Their most recent meeting, which took place on Feb. 1, covered the history of mass incarceration.

For those interested in getting involved with the CCJA, reach out to [email protected] or [email protected] via email. You can also follow their Instagram, @unewhavenccja. Meetings are Tuesdays at 6 p.m. in Kaplan 105 and on Zoom, which will be provided on Charger Connection and their Instagram.