A Tribute: James A. Hemm

June 21, 2024

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of James A. Hemm (1946-2024), a pioneer of community corrections in New Jersey and one of the founding members of the Reentry Coalition of New Jersey (originally founded as the Coalition of Community Correction Providers of New Jersey).

Hemm has been a life-long advocate for practical policies and practices for vulnerable individuals throughout the state.

He worked for the New Jersey Association on Correction (NJAC) from 1968 until his retirement in 2011, holding several positions at the organization, most notably Executive Director and CEO. NJAC opened Clinton House in 1966, one of the first halfway houses (now referred to as residential community reintegration programs or RCRPs) in the state of New Jersey. NJAC’s Hemm House, an RCRP located in Essex County, was named in Hemm’s honor – accredited by the American Correctional Association as a supportive reentry program for men on work release from New Jersey’s state correctional facilities.

During his professional tenure, Hemm was involved with several professional organizations in various capacities: Regional Vice President and President of the International Halfway House Association, President and Treasurer of the New Jersey chapter of the American Correctional Association and Treasurer of the New Jersey Community Action Association. Additionally, Hemm served on the boards of the Hyacinth Foundation and Volunteers of America Delaware Valley.

Over the years, Hemm has been recognized for his leadership and extensive work in the corrections space. He was named a fellow of Leadership New Jersey (1995) and the recipient of numerous awards – Volunteers of America’s Maud Booth Award (1996), the International Community Corrections Association’s Margaret Mead Award (2006), Offender Aid Restoration, Inc. – Newark’s  Lifetime Achievement Award and the Center for Non-Profits’ Judith Trachtenberg Award.

Hemm earned both his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Rutgers University. He was a resident of New Brunswick, NJ for many years before moving to Manahawkin, NJ, where he has resided for the last 25 years.

Rest in peace, Jim – you will be missed, but your impact and legacy will live on. Our sincere condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.

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