News Coverage

News Coverage from Our Client Candido’s Grand Opening of His New Restaurant (December 19, 2017)

Dec. 19, 2017: 

The Associated Press:

“Released prison chef, given 2nd chance, opens new restaurant”

The New York Times:

“A Chef Opens a Restaurant. His Training? Decades in a Prison Kitchen.”

ABC 7 New York:

“Man who became chef while in prison opens own restaurant in Jersey City”


NBC New York:

“Former Prison Chef Opens Restaurant in Jersey City”


New Jersey Monthly Magazine:

“From Behind Bars to Behind the Counter”


News 12 New Jersey:

“Ex-con who learned to cook in prison opens restaurant”

The Jersey Journal:

“Pardoned by Obama, former federal inmate opens cafe in Jersey City”


Fios 1 News:

“Released prison chef, given 2nd chance, opens new restaurant. He was released from jail after President Obama granted him clemency”

NY1 Noticias:


Houston Chronicle:

“Hispano al que Obama le conmutó una pena abre un restaurant”


Dominicano indultado por Obama inaugura un restaurante en Nueva Jersey


Listin Diario:
Dominicano al que Obama conmutó una pena hace un año abre restaurante

NJRC Press Release:

New Jersey City Restaurant is Being Opened by Former Prison Cook”  

Dec. 19, 2017: New Jersey City Restaurant is Being Opened by Former Prison Cook”  (NJRC Press Release)

Candido Ortiz, a cook at the Light Rail Café in Jersey City, prepares dinner for restaurant guests on Feb. 28, 2017. Ortiz participated in the New Jersey Reentry Corporation's one-week program, which prepares formerly incarcerated persons for employment, links them to important social and legal services, and more. By the fifth day of the program, Ortiz was hired as a cook at the Light Rail Café. Ortiz brought with him a tremendous amount of experience: he had worked as a head cook in federal prison for more than 20 years, where he also supervised 20 additional employees in the kitchen. Originally given a release date of 2035, Candido was among more than 200 individuals who were granted clemency by President Barack Obama in 2016. Photo by Stefanie Campolo

Please click here to read the Spanish press release.



Dec. 1, 2017: Addiction is a disease — This addict is 100% sure”  (NJ 101.5’s Heroin Uncut with Jay Lassiter)


Nov. 30, 2017: Criminal Justice Department Internship Program Offers Real-World Experience”  (Saint Peter’s University)


Nov. 30, 2017: At an N.J. prison, a job fair offers inmates a chance”  (The Record)





Nov. 10, 2017: Rehab, Jail, and How We’re Failing Drug Addicts”  (NJ 101.5’s Heroin Uncut podcast)


Nov. 7, 2017: Election Day Special with Governor Jim McGreevey”  (Hip New Jersey)


Nov. 1, 2017: Giving Back: the New Jersey Reentry Corporation’s prisoner reentry program”  (New Jersey Monthly magazine)



Oct. 13, 2017: BHMG Physician Participates in Roundtable Discussion with NJRC”  (RWJBarnabas News Roundup)


Oct. 4, 2017: Feria de Salud, Cultura, y Reintegración Social en Union City”  (El Especialito)

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Oct. 2, 2017: Restoring Drivers’ Licenses for Ex-Offenders”  (NJSBA’s New Jersey Lawyer)


Sept. 27, 2017: McGreevey’s right: To fight crime, fix re-entry | Editorial”  (The Star-Ledger)




Sept. 15, 2017: Our view: State needs more re-entry from prison programs like one in A.C.”  (The Press of Atlantic City)


Sept. 12, 2017: They have a better way to spend money on prisoners | Editorial” (By: Times of Trenton Editorial Board, for NJ Advance Media)


Sept. 7, 2017: Report: Improve reentry assistance” (



Sept. 6, 2017: How NJ can help ex-cons rejoin society as productive citizens” (New Jersey 101.5)




Sept. 6, 2017: What McGreevey says the next N.J. governor should do to help ex-prisoners” (NJ Advance Media (The Star-Ledger))


Sept. 6, 2017: Criminal Justice Reform Unites 5 Former New Jersey Governors” (The New York Times)


Aug. 18, 2017: For women in need, small offerings make big difference” (The Courier-Post)


Aug. 16, 2017: Helping Former Inmates to Live and Work in Society Again” (One on One with Steve Adubato)


Aug. 7, 2017: New center for released prisoners opens at redeveloped shipyard” (Real Estate Weekly)


Aug. 5, 2017: Removing Barriers to Employment for Former Inmates” (State of Affairs with Steve Adubato)


Aug. 3, 2017: Community Resource Center at Kearny Point” (ARCHITECT Magazine)




July 21, 2017: Program prepares graduates for union trades” (NJTV News)


July 14, 2017: Segunda Oportunidad” (Reporte Hispano)





June 26, 2017: For prisoner reentry to work, the private sector must play a key role | Opinion” (The Star-Ledger). Written by Mary Gatta, CUNY Professor


June 12, 2017: Lizette Delgado-Polanco Elevated to Political Director at Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters” (PRNewswire). Lizette is a Board Member for the Jersey City Employment and Training Program.





May 22, 2017: Jim McGreevey, 60%: American Dream Deferred” (PBS / WNET)


Press Coverage from the New Jersey Reentry Corporation’s Annual Prisoner Reentry Conference on April 13, 2017

April 17, 2017: Editorial: Believing in second chances” (


April 13, 2017: Mike Tyson thanks Christie for work on prisoner re-entry” (Associated Press)


April 13, 2017: Jim McGreevey, Mike Tyson salute ‘champion’ Chris Christie” (The Jersey Journal)


April 13, 2017: Discussing Ways to Help Ex-Offenders” (NJTV News)


April 13, 2017: VIDEO – Mike Tyson To Governor Christie: You Took The Punches, Trust Me You Deserve The Belt” (Governor Christie’s YouTube Channel)


April 13, 2017: NJRC Executive Director, John Koufos, Shares His Powerful Story: “Redemption Road” (New Jersey Monthly)



Press Coverage from Governor Chris Christie’s and NJRC’s Employment Opportunity Summit in Trenton on March 8, 2017:





December 23, 2016: Associated Press Story on Same Sky: Airport jewelry store giving ex-offenders a leg up. “‘When you get out of prison, society doesn’t let you out of prison, in a way,’ said Francine LeFrak, the film producer. ‘You have a hard time with every step of the way. People look at you as ‘that person who was in prison.’ But if you’re managing a kiosk at Newark Airport and you’re in contact with other people, you’re feeling that dignity of, ‘I’m worth it and now I can talk to anybody.’ It’s about skill-building.'”

Read the full AP article here in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


December 20, 2016: “Newark Liberty ‘s Terminal B Showcase: Creating Bracelets, and Second Chances” (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Portfolio)


December 15, 2016: “Instead Of Prison, Learning To Sell With A Smile.” Francine LeFrak, Founder, Same Sky, published an informative article in the Huffington Post about NJRC women in reentry who are managing a new kiosk in Terminal B of the Newark Airport. Here, they have the opportunity to sell jewelry that they designed and created for Same Sky. Read the article here.


December 8, 2016: Jim McGreevey was invited to speak about reentry at Drew University’s Theological School, and an article was written in their school newspaper, Drew Today: “Former N.J. Governor on Re-Acclimating Former Prisoners


September 29, 2016: Jim McGreevey and John Koufos discuss our program on NJTV’s One-on-One with Steve Adubato

September 28, 2016: NJ heroin addict starting over with help from reentry program (NJ 101.5). This article features our NJRC Ocean County Client, Rich.


September 27, 2016: Gov. Christie On Drug Addiction: Miracles Can Happen, If We Choose To Be A Part Of Them (National Recovery Month press conference)

September 27, 2016Christie, McGreevey to announce new tool to combat opiate addiction (NJ Advance Media for

September 7, 2016: NJRC/JCETP partner Rev. Gloria Walton, Founder, Most Excellent Way, was featured in Woman’s Day Magazine for her selfless work and commitment to helping women in reentry. Please read the story here:


August 3, 2016: Congratulations to New Jersey Reentry Corporation’s executive director, John Koufos, on being named a winner in the 2016 NJBIZ Forty Under 40 awards program.  John has provided clear, strong leadership in providing for critically needed services for those returning from incarceration. His award speaks to the importance of reentry and the need to work collaboratively with the business community to design training and employment programs, which will support our clients to identify and maintain solid work opportunities. Please find the press release here:


July 23, 2016: In this radio interview on Business Talk with Jim Campbell, Jim McGreevey discusses the modern American prison system, how it can sometimes worsen behaviors, and what people need in order to transform their lives when they return. Tune into the interview here:

June 25-26, 2016: Jim McGreevey and three of our clients—Shirley, Lakemma, and Derek—were all featured on WJLP’s “Jersey Matters.” Tune in to the three videos below to hear their stories of reentry and to learn more about our program. The third video shows our clients.

June 2, 2016: In New Jersey 101.5’s special town hall on opiate addiction and treatment, hear from Jim McGreevey, Commissioner Beth Connolly, recovering addict Daniel Regan, and former addict and drug dealer Carolyn Krug.

MAY 26, 2016: Former Governor McGreevey highlights painkiller abuse epidemic at Trinitas conference (

“McGreevey, referring to the abuse of prescription painkilling drugs, stated, ‘The line between legitimate medications and street drugs have been blurred.’ He described the extreme addictive nature of prescription painkillers, and their link to a cheaper alternative, heroin. ‘Heroin is finding its way to people who never imagined they would find themselves in an addicted state,’ he stated. Fully two-thirds of all drug deaths in New Jersey involve the initial use of painkillers such as Percocet and OxyContin, said McGreevey.”


MAY 6, 2016: Jim McGreevey’s interview with WRNN:

“If we want to bring people back into healthy, constructive living, we can’t punish them for an eternity. We have to punish them for a limited period of time, and then help them get back. Help them go from being a prisoner to a taxpayer. Help them go from a person who abused the trust of society to living a righteous life. The goal is not to punish in perpetuity. The goal is to bring back someone so that their gifts can be returned to civic society.”

MAY 2-3, 2016:
FOX 5  aired a two-part story on our program and the importance of second chances. Several of our clients were interviewed and shared their success stories. Thank you to Eastern Millwork, Inc. for supporting our hardworking clients every day.

Click on the images below to view each video story and read the articles.

Segment 1:

Segment 2:

APRIL 29, 2016: Francine LeFrak, founder, Same Sky, wrote an op-ed that was published in the Huffington Post: “Reframing Reentry: National Reentry Week.”

2016 Prisoner Reentry Conference

APRIL 29, 2016: Gov. Christie met with our clients at Greater Newark Conservancy for National #ReentryWeek and held a press conference. Here are some of the videos the governor shared on Twitter:

“These programs are about building a better, safer, happier, society. #ReentryWeek”

“Even the most troubled among us can be redeemed. #ReentryWeek”

APRIL 19, 2016: The NJ Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) invited Jim McGreevey to speak at the Workforce Development Summit, where he discussed the foundation for a successful reentry into society. Watch his speech here:

MARCH 27, 2016: The Record published an editorial about our 2016 Reentry Conference: “Helping Inmates

2016 Prisoner Reentry Conference

October 20, 2015: Former NJ Gov. McGreevey Tackles Prison Reform (Metrofocus | Thirteen | WLIW21 | NJTV)

October 21, 2015: Former NJ Gov. McGreevey Talks Gay Rights (Metrofocus | Thirteen | WLIW21 | NJTV)

May 2015: Jim McGreevey, Chairman, New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC), John Koufos, Executive Director, NJRC, and Mayor Steven Fulop, Jersey City, are featured in an article in Governing Magazine: Getting Out of Jail and Back to Work in ‘Second Chance City’