J Journal: New Writing on Justice examines its subject through creative work, directly and tangentially.  Housed at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, one of the nation’s premier criminal justice institutions, J Journal’s contributors have included established and new writers, professionals in the law enforcement field, lawyers, professors in the humanities and social sciences, and prison inmates. Unlike other CJ publications, J Journal, which comes out twice a year, is the country’s first to present its analyses of contemporary justice issues through creative, not scholarly work.  The short stories, poems, and personal narratives in each volume expand reflection on the question:  What is justice? 


A Note from the Editors


Columbus Circle, close to John Jay College where we teach and edit J Journal, has changed over the past few years.  What used to be the site of the New York Coliseum (NYC’s conventions were held here, not bread-and-circus events) is now the Time Warner Center, Manhattan’s version of a high-end mall.  But two things haven’t changed in the neighborhood.  The statue of Columbus still stands above a tall pillar, the old explorer looking down Eighth Avenue as if it were the new world.  And the horse-drawn carriages still circle Columbus on their way to Central Park to pick up passengers for romantic rides.  There’s frequent outrage over the treatment of these overly-worked horses, animal rights groups calling for an end to the city’s iconic rides featured in movies as disparate as Woody Allen’s Manhattan and Home Alone 2.  But so far, the horses are here to stay, plodding through muggy summers and frigid winters, often adorned with foolish plumes on their heads.  Last month, a horse protested.  It bucked and kicked.  The driver lost control of the reigns.  The carriage flipped, splintering parts onto Eighth Avenue and spilling feed on the pavement.  Thankfully no one was hurt.  When we got to the scene (we were just passing through on our way to school), the police had cordoned off the area and the horse stood still next to the sidewalk, now calm, its moment of rebellion over.  Always thinking justice, we gave the horse credit for standing up against all those hours of forced labor.  Had he planned his attack?  Of course not.  Had he thought about the plight of his fellow horses?   No.  But in that wrecked carriage we saw the power, un-harnessed, of a beast of burden.  We were glad no one had been injured, neither horse nor man.  We were also glad the horse had made a statement, unbeknownst to him, that wrongs can be righted, if only for a moment, as fast as it takes a flimsy carriage to flip and fall.