Assata Thomas is Director of the Institute for Community Justice (ICJ), a Program of Philadelphia FIGHT. As Director, Ms. Thomas oversees the effective execution of ICJ’s aims to provide support, education, and advocacy for individuals, families, and communities who are impacted by mass incarceration.
Ms. Thomas has over two decades of experience in the social services field which commenced with her training as a Corrections Officer with the State of New Jersey, during which time she held the distinction of having been the first female President of the Corrections Officers Training Academy of New Jersey. She left the NJ Department of Corrections in order to pursue studies at Rutgers University (and while still her raising children). Parallel to her studies she also worked part-time with a wide range of social services programs – from protecting troubled youth to aiding homeless veterans. Ms. Thomas received a BA Degree with honors in African American and Urban Studies (minor in Sociology). She thereafter was Director of a Camden- based re-entry program.
Ms. Thomas maintains an unflagging commitment to social justice and building a society emancipated from the socially inequitable and [calloused/profoundly destructive] system of mass incarceration; a society where even the most vulnerable communities have equal and unrestricted access to healthcare, to justice and to unqualified protection of their safety and security.
Ms. Thomas is a passionate advocate on behalf of those affected by mass incarceration; and, moreover, having lived through the experience of a felony conviction, is uniquely qualified to speak with credibility and authority to the issues facing all who have been affected by the system – such as the challenges faced by returning citizens for a fair chance at social rehabilitation, healthy reintegration back into society and the chance to (re)design their futures and destinies. Ms. Thomas’ personal trajectory and hard won successes fuel her passion to help others and they offer a concrete and inspiring example for others that, despite the odds, success is possible.
Ms. Thomas has partnered with several grass root organizations rooted in social justice, criminal justice reform and ending death by incarceration. She continues to demonstrate her civic advocacy through Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.