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New York City
Criminal Justice Agency

Brand Strategy / Content Strategy / Messaging / Digital Design / Creative Production  

CJA does many things: Measurement and evaluation, a paragovernmental level of service provision, scaling innovative practices over decades, and essential research. Yet, at its core, CJA is New Yorkers helping New Yorkers, and that's the story they asked us to tell. 

They wanted to reveal the heart of the organization by having us create a new space on their website dedicated to their Peer Specialists. These brilliant professionals marry lived experience with rigorous practice to offer trauma-informed support to participants in the Queens Supervised Release Program. CJA's peers prove that when people like them are respected, understood, and welcomed by caseworkers, colleagues, and even court officers and judges, they can amplify an organization as a whole and strengthen the true bases of public safety: Mutual understanding, dignity, care, and community wellbeing.

Approach We were told by CJA's leadership that the Peers are talkers and should tell their own story. So we set up an initial meeting with Frank Barretto, Senior Manager of Peers Services, to discuss what we hoped to accomplish: Interview each and every Peer to find out who they are, what they do, why and how; spend a morning photographing them around Queensboro Plaza, their homebase; and finally, weave together a webpage that does them justice and that shows how integral they are to CJA and its vision for real public safety.

Frank enthusiastically agreed.

Cyprian films

There is success in that the product is beautiful and meaningful, that CJA is very happy, key audiences are impressed, and it serves as a tool to encourage others to replicate the program.

And there is success in that we, Design for Progress, found new abilities in expression, new ways of telling stories. And that this project and set of stakeholders helped us understand what DfP is built for.

The greatest success here is that the Peers see the pride they rightly take in their work properly reflected.

“Working with Design for Progress is a joy. Always ready with new ideas and great insights, the team helped us tell the story of our Peer work in a way the centered our staff while showing the importance of the work. Anyone who gets to work with this team of talented folks is lucky.”

Sean Sullivan, General Counsel and Director of Administration, The New York Criminal Justice Agency

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