March 29, 2017 |
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced two significant investments aimed at creating innovative programming and supporting existing services for New Yorkers reentering communities after periods of incarceration. The District Attorney’s Office is also funding the creation of a blueprint for a new Manhattan Criminal Court Resource Center to better enable low-level offenders to navigate and utilize programs and services that comprise non-jail sentences, ranging from community service to mental health programs. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is funding these initiatives through the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”), which was created using criminal forfeiture funds obtained through settlements with international banks for violating U.S. sanctions.
“Any effort to reduce crime must address the needs of those returning to our communities after being incarcerated,” said District Attorney Vance. “Unless we provide these individuals with access to the resources they need – from employment to supportive housing to mental health services – the cycle of recidivism is bound to continue. Similarly, as we work to reduce unnecessary incarceration, we know we must not only expand sentencing options for low-level offenders that do not include jail, but provide better access to these programs and services for the thousands of defendants that come through our courts each year. I look forward to investing in programs that have been proven to be successful in reducing recidivism, and to learning more about the new and innovative work happening in this field, with an eye toward funding more projects in the future.”
City University of New York Institute for State and Local Governance (CUNY ISLG) Executive Director Michael P. Jacobson said: “These investments will make great strides toward increasing public safety and preventing future crime. Investing in reentry is investing in prevention. When people are leaving jail or prison, we have a chance to help address the needs and circumstances that may have led to their incarceration to prevent future recidivism. Enhancing current services—and seeking out thoughtful, new innovations—will go a long way towards helping people succeed when they are back in their communities. And at Manhattan Criminal Court, developing an engaging Resource Center capitalizes on the huge opportunity to connect the thousands of people passing through the Court to a variety of resources to help them with employment needs, mental health needs, and much more.”
NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Director Elizabeth Glazer said: “The new investments announced today by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office will be important additions to effective reentry in New York City. The Mayor's office looks forward to partnering on these efforts.”
In a separate, related announcement Mayor de Blasio today announced a new re-entry system that will begin with expanded risk and need assessment on the first day that someone enters jail, offer five hours every day of programming that addresses an individual’s unique needs, and continue with support – including new employment and educational programs – after someone leaves jail and returns to the community.
Reentry Services Support and Innovation – $15 million
Each year, approximately 75,000 people return to New York City following a period of incarceration in jail or prison.1 Individuals often enter jail or prison with complex needs in areas including employment, education, housing, and behavioral health. The experience of incarceration itself can create new needs and exacerbate existing needs, contributing to a cycle of re-incarceration. In fact, a recent study found that 42 percent of people released from New York State prisons returned within three years. To address these challenges, the District Attorney’s Office is 1) supporting programming with a proven record of success, and 2) offering funds for new ideas through an innovation challenge.