New York, NY – Today, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Committee on
Criminal Justice Chair Keith Powers announced that $13.5 million is designated
in this year’s fiscal budget to fund and support alternatives to incarceration
(ATI) programs in an effort to continue to reduce the city’s jail population.
As part of the City Council’s push for parole reform and its commitment to
create post-release opportunities, the money will help fund programs that
provide individuals involved with the criminal justice system with a wide array
of services to help them stay out of prison, particularly for minor or
technical parole violations.

Nearly 8% of the city’s jail population are
people who violated minor parole requirements, like failing a drug test or
missing a curfew. While the State Legislature considers the Less is More
Act, a proposal that would reduce the number of individuals detained
for technical and low-level parole violations, the City Council is supporting programs that
provide New Yorkers on parole with the services they need to go back
to their communities, including job placement, vocational training, substance
abuse counseling, and short and long-term housing.

By expanding ATI programs, judges will have better alternatives
to keep individuals out of jail, including programs that allow parole
judges to help parolees get services they need to avoid returning to jail.
Additionally, the Council will fund programs that will help determine when
individuals arrested for minor parole violations should be released back to
their communities and not spend any unnecessary time in jail.  

Funding will establish new ATI programming; support operations at
a new Felony ATI Court Part in Brooklyn Supreme Court; and offer
justice-involved individuals with a pathway to higher education.

For Fiscal Year 2020, the Council will fund more than 20
community-oriented service providers.  

“Sending people back to jail because of technical, non-criminal
parole violations is senseless. It is unfair to take away one’s freedom just
because the person missed a curfew, failed a drug test or missed an appointment
with a parole officer. It is inconceivable that we have reduced the
City’s jail population, yet the number of people behind bars for technical
parole violations is increasing. As we continue to work to close Rikers
and reform our criminal justice system, we need to
provide parolees with the support they need to return to their
communities and thrive. I commend Council Member Powers and the entire City
Council for the tireless work and leadership in our efforts to reform the
criminal justice system and make it more just and fair,” said Speaker
Corey Johnson

“Parole was designed to keep people out of detention, not put
people back in it. In order to ensure that we close Rikers and transform our
criminal justice system, we must stop incarcerating people for minor parole
violations. This $13.5 million commitment will go a long way toward
accomplishing that goal. I want to thank Speaker Johnson and my colleagues for
their dedication to establishing a more humane justice system,” said Council
Member Keith Powers, Chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice.

“The NYC ATI and Reentry Coalition commend the New York City
Council for its long-standing commitment to funding alternatives to
incarceration in NYC. Today’s announcement reflects the Council’s ongoing
leadership in reforming New York City’s justice system. Jail closure can’t
happen without expanding ATI and reentry services and the Coalition plays a
critical role in how the city reimagines public safety. Coalition members have
proven track records of providing services to break the devastating cycle of
crime, incarceration, and recidivism, and strengthen families and communities
city-wide. These programs also help to save millions in tax dollars every year
and build a more equitable criminal justice system for our City overall,” said
Tracie Gardner of the Legal Action Center and Coordinator for the NYC ATI and
Reentry Coalition
, composed of Bronx Connect, CASES, College and Community
Fellowship, Center for Employment Opportunities, Center for Community
Alternatives, EAC Network, Fortune Society, Greenburger Center for Social and
Criminal Justice, Legal Action Center, Osborne Association and Women’s Prison

“The City Council’s
support for life-changing programs that decrease recidivism and offer more New
Yorkers a way out of the criminal justice system is essential. The people of
our City owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Speaker Corey Johnson and
Criminal Justice Committee Chair Keith Powers for their bold progressive
leadership in securing increased funding in the City budget for programs which
provide a solid platform to New Yorkers involved in the criminal justice system
to rebuild their lives and strengthen families and neighborhoods. GOSO’s
holistic approach of offering mental health, educational, vocational and job
readiness programming dramatically reduces the number of young people who are
incarcerated and helps to ensure that they are working and/or in school. As the
demand for resources like these continues to rise, criminal justice reform
policies which put robust reentry services at the forefront are more vital than
ever. The City Council’s leadership under Speaker Johnson and Council Member
Powers in this arena is among the most innovative and practical in the nation,”
said Getting Out and Staying Out President and CEO Mark L. Goldsmith.

“We are thankful to New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
for believing in alternatives to incarceration. Young people who grow up poor
in New York City may have limited choices, face barriers, and are more likely
to make decisions that could land them in a revolving-door cycle of poverty and
incarceration. With support from the Speaker’s Office, we at Avenues for
Justice impact hundreds of youth each year who are getting the second chance
they deserve, and whose potential would be wasted without alternative
sentencing,” said Judith Evans Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Avenues for
Justice (AFJ).

“The Fortune Society is committed to being a strong partner in
driving down incarceration while making sure that New York remains the safest
large city in America. We are grateful for the strong support we receive from
Speaker Johnson and the City Council.  The significant appropriations we
have received from the Council through the Alternatives to Incarceration
Initiative will fund important programs that will reduce unnecessary
incarceration in the current year while working toward the longer term goal of
closing Rikers Island.  The funding will strengthen New York City’s
national leadership in reducing both crime and incarceration. Fortune Society
is also proud to be a part of the larger ATI Reentry Coalition which has worked
for decades to reduce over-reliance on incarceration and help people
successfully reenter society,” said JoAnne Page, President and CEO of The
Fortune Society

“At this critical moment for reducing the number of people held at
Rikers Island, we are grateful to the City Council and the leadership of
Speaker Corey Johnson for significant support of and belief in alternatives to
incarceration and parole revocation. The City’s increased funding will allow
members of the ATI/Reentry Coalition to continue to work with NYC towards a
smaller, safer, and fairer criminal legal system. Osborne is especially
grateful for this dedicated funding to work with the more than 600 people who
are held in NYC for parole violations to reduce the average daily population at
Rikers Island, support individuals in their effort to restore parole
eligibility, and encourage long term reentry success through connections
to community-based programs and service,” said Osborne Association President
and CEO Elizabeth Gaynes

“The funding announced today underlines the Council’s commitment
to continuing to innovate toward a fairer and more effective justice system for
all New Yorkers. The Council’s continued support has been invaluable to the
Center for Court Innovation’s success improving public safety, reducing the use
of incarceration, and promoting healthier neighborhoods,” said Greg Berman,
director, Center for Court Innovation

“Brooklyn Defender Services
is very pleased that the New York City Council is supporting Alternative to
Incarceration funding. Brooklyn residents who get arrested will benefit greatly
from appropriate programming that both reduces the use of incarceration and
also provides useful services that can turn a bad moment in their lives into an
opportunity. In our experience, many people are caught up in the criminal legal
system because they are young, addicted or living in poverty.  Alternative
options that address these underlying issues will help New York City close
Rikers Island and reduce greatly the number of people that face the horrible
and traumatic experience of incarceration. Thank you to Speaker Corey Johnson
and the Brooklyn Delegation for their support for closing Rikers Island and
creating humane options for the community we serve,” said Lisa
Schreibersdorf, Executive Director of Brooklyn Defenders Services, a public
defense organization in Kings County

“This year’s expansion of funding for Alternatives to
Incarceration programs reflects the New York City Council’s commitment to
raising the standard of living for all New Yorkers and to creating a fair and
equitable community. The HOPE Program is proud to serve as an ATI partner in
order to divert individuals from detention or incarceration to jobs, thereby
avoiding recidivism; contributing to their families; supporting local
businesses; and through our green jobs training programs, advancing the
sustainability of the City at large,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Executive
Director at HOPE Program

“The Women’s Prison Association (WPA) is thankful
for the City Council’s continued support of our highly effective advocacy and
alternative to incarceration services for women. This expanded funding will
ensure that WPA provides more women with individualized, gender-aware support
as they heal from trauma and violence, without exacerbating those experiences
on Rikers Island. We are proud to be a part of New York City’s innovative
efforts to end mass incarceration and support women and families with
constructive, community-based responses,” said Georgia Lerner, Executive
Director, Women’s Prison Association (WPA)

“We are most grateful to Speaker Johnson and all the members of
the City Council for the ongoing support that Network Support Services has
received for our ATI programming. The generous grant for 2019 – 2020
enables us to serve 50% more men and women; creating productive and connected
members of society. With your continued support, we will close the gap
from our 8% recidivism rate to 0%,” said Thorin Daye, Executive Director,
Network Support Services

“SCO Family of Services applauds New York Council Speaker Corey
Johnson for his leadership and support of the Alternative to Incarceration
initiative. This funding has enabled youth in our Brooklyn based programs to
develop positive relationships with local law enforcement, learn the challenges
of law enforcement jobs, and enable local police precincts to meet their
neighbors in our residential and community based programs. These interactions
have helped to break down stigma between these communities and forge meaningful
partnerships between local police and the communities they serve,” said
Keith Little, President & CEO of SCO Family of Services

“The Council’s leadership and support for alternatives to
incarceration and community-based programs have transformed lives and
strengthened communities. We are grateful for the Council’s support for the
Institute for Transformative Mentoring, which has enabled us to offer training
and support to credible messengers from more than 30 organizations,” said
Kristin Morse, Executive Director, Center for New York City Affairs at The New

“Laudable efforts to reform
bail, speedy trial and discovery are huge victories, but must be accompanied by
community alternatives brought to scale. The Speaker’s leadership in this
regard will enhance the public safety of every New York City
neighborhood,” said David Condliffe, Executive Director, Center for
Community Alternatives