March 10, 2017, New York, NY – Along with colleagues in the ATI/Reentry Coalition, the Legal Action Center has issued a position paper urging the NYS Legislature to restore and enhance budgetary support for essential Alternatives to Incarceration and Reentry Programs. In addition to the Legal Action Center, the position paper was endorsed by the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), Center for Community Alternatives (CCA), Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), Correctional Association, Education & Assistance Corporation, NYC TASC & Mental Health Programs (EAC), The Fortune Society, Greenhope Services for Women, Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice, The Osborne Association, TASC of the Capital District and Women’s Prison Association (WPA).
New York State is nationally known for its highly effective network of alternative-to-incarceration (ATI) and reentry programs. These programs have been critical to the State’s success in simultaneously reducing crime, reducing the prison population and saving taxpayers many millions of dollars.
Continued funding and strong bi-partisan support for ATI and reentry programs have enabled the State to develop this robust network of effective services that have reduced crime and incarceration and improved families and communities.
To preserve this critical programs, the Legislature must restore the more than $2 million in funding cuts in the Executive Budget in order to preserve these programs’ ability to operate and to keep crime rates low, strengthen families and communities, and save large amounts of money.
The position paper issued by the ATI/Reentry Coalition urges the Legislature to take the following steps:
- Restore the $2.022 million in cuts to alternative-to-incarceration, reentry and related programs proposed by the Executive;
- Add $8 million to expand ATI and reentry programs throughout the State, including services that:
- Divert individuals from arrest, detention or sentences of incarceration where appropriate and assist them in transitioning back into the community;
- Provide treatment for addiction and mental illness;
- Support individuals to develop needed employment skills and to find and retain jobs; and
- Help people with criminal justice involvement reconnect with families and housing.
Ensuring that New York’s ATI and Reentry remain strong will enable the State to move closer to the goal of ensuring that individuals are no longer incarcerated unnecessarily when they can be safely diverted to services in the community at much lower cost, and that those who are incarcerated are able to obtain the services they need to successfully readjust to the community and remain crime-free.