Mayor’s FY25 Executive Budget fails to restore and provide funding for safety solutions that prevent cycles of crime and reduce jail population 

City Hall, NY – Ahead of the City Council’s Executive Budget hearing with the Committee on Criminal Justice and the Committee on Finance, the Council called for the Administration to prioritize the restorations and investments for programs that help the City reduce recidivism and effectively address mental health challenges in order to prevent unnecessary incarceration and improve public safety. Specifically, the Council identified budget priorities that, if funded, can help advance unfulfilled commitments of the City towards lowering the jail population and closing Rikers, like Justice Involved Supportive Housing, Mental Health Courts, alternatives to incarceration and re-entry programs, and other proven mental health interventions.  

With approximately half of people in city jails having some kind of mental health diagnosis and at least 1 in 5 individuals dealing with a serious mental illness, there are clear interventions that can be funded to prevent city jails from being de facto mental health institutions. Studies show that filtering people with mental health challenges into the criminal justice system and incarceration is ineffective in addressing underlying conditions and can often exacerbate them. Effective mental health interventions and programs that the City committed to implement as part of efforts to lower the jail population and close Rikers have been left out of the mayor’s proposed budget. Yet, the city’s district attorneys made clear at the Council’s Preliminary Budget hearing by the Committee on Public Safety that the City must prioritize greater investments in housing, mental health care, and programs that reduce recidivism and provide opportunity and stability.   

In its Preliminary Budget Response, the Council prioritized several programs that have been cut, unfunded or underfunded in the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget. These include: 

Mental Health Courts and Diversion Programs 

The Council has called for the Administration to provide an additional $8.9 million for baseline funding for mental health courts that connect people to appropriate interventions: $4.7 million in additional resources for the Manhattan Mental Health Court and the Judicial Diversion Court’s Mental Health Track, and $4.2 million for alternative-to-incarceration programs (ATIs) and problem-solving courts. Mental health courts and their associated programs help facilitate appropriate mental health responses and reduce the likelihood of rearrest by diverting people into treatment with increased coordination of care to address underlying issues. These programs have lacked the capacity to fulfill the level of need, are too often unavailable, and can have average wait times of months for appropriate placement because of insufficient investments to operate at scale.  

15/15 Supportive Housing and Justice-Involved Supportive Housing 

The Council has called on the Administration to allocate $19.6 million to advance the 15/15 Supportive Housing program and $6.4 million for Justice Involved Supportive Housing (JISH) to ensure 500 supportive housing units are brought online for New Yorkers to successfully transition back into their communities. Supportive housing remains one of the most effective methods to address issues of mental health and homelessness by providing housing stability to individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness with other challenges or involvement in the justice system.  

Alternatives to Incarceration and Re-entry Programming 

The Council has called for the Administration to restore $14.7 million in funding for programs that reduce recidivism. These include $8 million for reentry programs that reduce recidivism by ensuring that people transitioning from incarceration can successfully return to their communities and $6.7 million for Alternative to Incarceration programs that intervene with services tailored to participants that can help reduce unnecessary incarceration and recidivism. For years, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice has managed this programming, but the Mayor’s Program to Eliminate the Gap cut their funding and the Executive Budget only partially restored it. 

Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) teams 

The Council has called for an additional $7 million investment to expand the City’s FACT teams, which are specialized units composed of experts including behavioral health specialists, clinicians, and case management experts that provide care and wraparound services for individuals with serious mental illnesses (SMIs). They provide targeted support to people who have not been effectively served by traditional services and have cycled through the justice system without successful interventions to address their underlying challenges.  

Supporting Public Safety Intervention Programs for Youth   

The Council calls for $12.5 million to restore cuts and provide expanded funding to public safety youth intervention programs in communities experiencing high levels of violence and to confront the increase in youth incarceration that has approximately doubled. These include:  

  • Restoring the $1.6 million baselined cut to the Arches program, which helps young people at greatest risk of crime and violence avoid destructive activities that derail them from employment and education, and lead to involvement in the justice system.   
  • Restoration of the $2.6 million baselined cut to the Next Steps program, which intervenes with high-risk young people to reduce violence in target NYCHA developments with high incidents of violence.   
  • Additional investment of $5 million for youth alternative to incarceration/alternative to detention (ATI/ATD) programming through the Department of Probation (DOP) to alleviate the increase in youth incarceration within ACS secure detention centers over the past two years. 

Community Justice Centers 

The Council called on the Administration to provide the necessary capital funds to construct facilities to house Community Justice Centers in the Bronx and Staten Island, the only boroughs without centers. Community Justice Centers have bridged the gap between the courts and communities to improve public safety and public trust in justice. By helping community members access stable housing, neighborhood safety, re-entry services, and youth programming, these Centers reduce recidivism and help prevent crime while solving neighborhood problems.  

Board of Correction (BOC) Restoration and Baseline  

The Council calls on the Administration to increase the Board’s baseline budget by $1.5 million to allow for increased monitoring and medical staff to provide comprehensive investigations of deaths in the City’s jails and carefully monitor DOC’s operations. The Board of Correction oversees policies, procedures, and misconduct in the Department of Correction, and this oversight is pivotal given that 31 people have died in DOC custody, or immediately following release from it, since 2022. 

Trauma Recovery Centers 

Over the past two fiscal years, the Council has allocated nearly $5 million to establish New York State’s first trauma recovery centers (TRCs) in Brooklyn (2) and the Bronx (1). TRCs are designed to reach survivors of violent crime who lack access to traditional victim services and are less likely to engage in mainstream mental health or social services. They provide wraparound services and coordinated care, including mental health, physical health, and legal services, by utilizing multi-disciplinary staff that can include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and outreach workers focused on providing survivor-centered healing and removing barriers to care. The Council called for $7.2 million in baselined funding to permanently sustain the existing TRCs and create one new center in both Queens and Staten Island in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget. 

“The Council has consistently called on the Administration to invest in proven solutions that improve mental health outcomes and reduce recidivism to advance public safety and the closure of Rikers,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “These programs effectively intervene to provide stability by addressing underlying issues, rather than unnecessarily leaving people worse off from being cycled them through the criminal justice system without solutions. Mayor Adams’ administration must follow through in taking these necessary steps for public safety and lowering the jail population to meet the City’s obligation to close Rikers by 2027. The Fiscal Year 2025 budget must be a pivotal turning point for the Mayor’s administration to support these necessary investments that the Council has outlined as priorities for the city.” 

“It doesn’t make sense to talk tough on public safety, only to turn around and cut key, evidence-based programs that we know make New Yorkers safer,” said Council Member Justin Brannan, Chair of the Committee on Finance. “Investments in recidivism reduction, mental health and youth intervention programs, and supportive housing are not “soft-on-crime” acts of charity; they are rather some of the most effective, cost and results-wise, things we can do to fight crime and keep our city as safe as possible. The Council recognizes that these programs make up a crucial piece of the public safety puzzle, and cuts are therefore unacceptable.” 

“I am deeply committed to fostering safer communities, I am profoundly concerned by the Administration’s decision to slash funding for crucial recidivism reduction programs,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse, Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. “These cuts jeopardize the progress we’ve made in providing effective alternatives to incarceration, supervised release, and re-entry services. By underfunding these essential initiatives, we not only fail to address the root causes of criminal behavior but also risk the safety and well-being of our neighborhoods. It is of the utmost importance that we prioritize investments in programs proven to reduce recidivism and support individuals in their journey towards rehabilitation and reintegration into society.”  

“While we have heard the Mayor talk about investing upstream to close the pipelines that feed Rikers, we have consistently seen budget proposals from his administration that would do the opposite. Instead of speculating about how the jail population might increase if nothing changes, this is the time to change something,” said Darren Mack, Co-Director of Freedom Agenda. “This year’s budget must not only restore senseless cuts to alternatives to incarceration and reentry services, but expand these proven interventions. The budget must also make serious strides toward scaling up the mental health resources that every New Yorker knows we desperately need – including supportive housing, Forensic Assertive Community Treatment teams, and crisis respite centers. It is immoral and illogical to allow our neighbors to face long waiting lists for supportive programs but always have space available for them to languish on Rikers. It is time to fund the things that work, and get Rikers closed.” 

“Funding supportive housing, mental health services, and alternative to incarceration and reentry programs is essential,” said Jennifer J. Parish, Director of Criminal Justice Advocacy at the Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project. “These services not only help individuals with mental health and substance use treatment needs; they enrich our communities and promote health and safety. If we choose not to invest in housing, mental health treatment, and other supports, we are tacitly approving of pouring billions of dollars into a failing system – the New York City jails. Jails do nothing to improve the lives of the people incarcerated there, and instead inflict mental and physical harm and make it even more difficult for people to succeed in the community upon release. The Mayor and City Council must be smart about how they spend taxpayers’ dollars. Funding housing and healthcare is a good investment, and the City will reap the benefits for decades to come.”   

“NAMI-NYC is grateful the City Council continues to invest in mental health strategies that provide off-ramps from the traditional revolving door of hospitalization, jail, and homelessness,” said Matt Kudish, NAMI-NYC CEO. “NAMI-NYC looks forward to continuing to partner with the City Council to expand innovative, proven programs that center individuals living with mental illness and the people who love them.”