James is the creator and director of The James H. Costen, SR Institute for Complicated Freedoms. The Institute, named after his father, collaborates with community stakeholders to foster healing and collective efficacy. James is also the Program Director of the Connecting Grace Initiative at the Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary. He also serves as the seminary’s Technological Advisor.
James is active with End Mass Incarceration/Healing Communities Network (EMI/HC), End the New Jim Crow Action Group – Atlanta; and Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment (ABLE).
James holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Kennesaw State University, and currently is working on a Masters degree in Race and Urban Studies at Georgia State University. His research focus is the readiness of the Church to effectively assist the formerly incarcerated in community reintegration.
James has a deep sense of love and compassion for God and family. He is married, has one son, and four grandchildren.