FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Karen Imas, Connelly McLaughlin & Woloz [email protected] 212-437-7373
MAY 23, New York, NY – Today members of the City Council joined the Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI)/Reentry Coalition to call for increased support for ATI and reentry services in New York City for Fiscal Year 2019. For close to 30 years, the ATI/Reentry Coalition, comprised of 11 non-profits, has offered effective and ground-breaking services that reduce crime and break the cycle of incarceration while saving tax dollars and strengthening communities.
City Council funding is critical to helping provide ATI and reentry programs that strengthen families and bring hope and opportunity to New York City communities with complex needs by providing a full spectrum of services for individuals involved in the criminal justice system. The Coalition requests that the City Council increase funding for its ATI and reentry programs to $6.857 million, a $1.1 million increase that will be divided evenly among the eleven current members of the Coalition in FY19.
With major reforms in the criminal justice system underway, it is even more critical to provide resources to the ATI and reentry community. Mayor de Blasio and the City Council are working to close Rikers Island by primarily shrinking the population on the island. Linking individuals to effective and critical services that prevent recidivism is a core component to helping reduce the jail population and to create meaningful reforms in the City’s criminal justice system overall.
Also, Governor Cuomo has signed “Raise the Age” into law. As a result, by October 2019, New York State will no longer automatically prosecute 16 and 17-year-olds as adults. Programs designed to assist incarcerated individuals with a successful transition to their community after they are released are more important now than ever.
Partnering with the City Council in past years, the Coalition has been able to provide unique and innovative ATI and reentry services for existing and emerging populations in need of a diverse range of services. These include funding for diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration services. The results have been dramatic:
• ATI and reentry programs help the City and State correctional systems save more than $100 million every year.
• And the two-year recidivism rate of graduates from ATI/Reentry Coalition programs is less than 20%, far lower than the 42% recidivism rate of those released from incarceration.
“The ATI/Reentry coalition has done extraordinary work reaching underserved communities in all 51 Council Districts. With new changes and reforms in both the city and state, including the Raise the Age mandate, the need for the Coalition’s services continues to escalate,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Chair of the Subcommittee on Capital Budget. “I am proud to support the City’s efforts to reduce recidivism and make our communities safer. Additional funding will help the Coalition continue its important efforts.”
“The Alternatives to Incarceration/Reentry Coalition provides resources for formerly incarcerated individuals to be successful. The programs enable our city to not only reduce crime but also break the cycle of incarceration. As we work to close Rikers over the next 10 years, alternatives to incarceration are critical to keep jail populations down and improve the criminal justice system,” Council Member Keith Powers, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee.
“We have a moral obligation to provide justice involved individuals with the services they need to rejoin society which is why I support the critical ATI/Reentry services and programs offered by the Coalition,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Finance Committee. “With proper funding these 11 organizations will enhance efforts to reach populations that are underserved as they have been doing in this city for decades.”
“To not increase the amount of funding for the ATI/Reentry Coalition, which has helped decrease recidivism and keep families together for almost 30 years, while focusing on closing Rikers and implementing the Raise the Age mandate would be reckless. We must increase this funding to help ensure that the City can continue to provide these vital reentry services for individuals in every borough,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen, Chair of the State and Federal Legislation Committee.
While New York City has the strongest network of effective programs providing alternatives to incarceration in the nation, many eligible people who need these services still lack access. The full range of successful ATI programming should be brought to scale throughout New York City to continue reducing the still much-too-large numbers of people who are being incarcerated.
“While the ATI/Reentry Coalition services communities all across New York City, there are still underserved populations including women, young people, LGBTQ community, and people with mental illness,” said Khalil A. Cumberbatch, Associate Vice President of Policy at the Fortune Society. “Robust and sustained funding from the City Council will allow the coalition to expand its impact by meeting the increasing demand for ATl/Reentry services for populations in need of the Coalition’s diverse range of services.”
“The ATI Coalition seeks to build upon the City’s strong record of progressive policies by recommending additional reforms that will continue to bring the City closer to achieving a more equitable criminal justice system for all,” said Tracie M. Gardner, Co-Chair of the ATI/Reentry Coalition and Associate Director of Legal Action Center. “City Council funding allows member organizations to leverage their decades worth of collective experience to pilot innovative and groundbreaking programs in the City’s most underserved communities.”
“Each member organization of the ATI/Reentry Coalition offers different services ranging from mental health treatment to legal services to employment programs, and members work together to share expertise and resources. This model helps reduce unnecessary incarceration and help participants lead stable lives,” said Joel Copperman, Co-Chair of the ATI/Reentry Coalition and CEO of CASES.
THE ALTERNATIVE TO INCARCERATION (ATI) REENTRY COALITION is a coalition of 11 organizations: Bronx Connect (Urban Youth Alliance), the Center for Alternative Sentencing & Employment Services (CASES); Center for Community Alternatives (CCA); Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO); College & Community Fellowship (CCF); Education & Assistance Corporation NYC TASC & Mental Health Programs (EAC/TASC); the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice; The Fortune Society; The Legal Action Center (LAC); the Osborne Association; and Women’s Prison Association (WPA). Coalition members provide alternatives to incarceration for men, women, and youth as well as support services for those who have completed their sentences and are returning to the community. Although incarceration has long been the primary response to crime, it is incredibly expensive and often fails both to improve public safety and prevent future crimes committed by people released from jail or prison. The ATI Reentry Coalition, through its programs, enables New York City to reduce crime and break the cycle of incarceration, while saving tax dollars and communities.