DA Vance Announces $7.2 Million Investment in New Yorkers Reentering Their Communities After Incarceration


April 9, 2018

$3 Million Investment in the NYC Health Justice Network is Largest-Known Investment in Primary Care for Reentering Individuals

Grants Awarded to Four Organizations to Expand Health, Education, Housing, and Employment Opportunities for Reentering Individuals

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the investment of $7.2 million to expand healthcare, education, housing, and employment opportunities for New Yorkers reentering their communities from jail or prison. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is providing these grants through its Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”), which District Attorney Vance created using criminal forfeiture funds obtained through the Office’s settlements with international banks for violating U.S. sanctions.

“Law enforcement must firmly and finally acknowledge that when we play a role in sending someone to prison, we own some of the responsibility for what happens when they get out,” said District Attorney Vance. “And with 42 percent of people released from New York prisons returning within three years, this revolving door is not just a tragedy for reentering New Yorkers, their families, and their communities – it’s a public safety problem. I am proud to invest in these organizations that are redefining reentry to provide returning New Yorkers with the tools they need, helping drive down recidivism and making our communities safer.”

City University of New York Institute for State and Local Governance (“CUNY ISLG”) Executive Director Michael P. Jacobson said: “Investing in reentry is investing in public safety—by helping people with education, health, housing, and employment issues, we can help them succeed when they are back in their communities and reduce the chances of them returning to jail or prison. The investments announced today are a great blend of building on what we know works in the field of reentry and testing new ideas that could make a lasting impact on people returning to their communities from jail or prison.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said: “Good primary care improves health outcomes. This is especially important for people who have a history of involvement with the justice system, because they have high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking. The New York City Health Justice Network, starting in Upper Manhattan, will make it easier for this population to engage consistently in high quality primary care and social services, including housing, transportation, and employment support. I thank Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance for his generous investment to launch this program.”

Institute for Family Health President and CEO Neil Calman, MD, said: “The Institute for Family Health is dedicated to caring for medically underserved communities, and training doctors to care for the most vulnerable members of those communities. We currently reach out to justice involved individuals through our work with the Purple Clinic, open to anyone who has experienced sexual exploitation, or has had to trade or sell sex to survive, often resulting in criminal justice involvement; and through our collaboration with CASES, where we provide primary care at their mental health program for justice-involved individuals. We are grateful to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Department of Health for this opportunity to explore best practices for providing excellent health services to justice involved individuals and to expand these services at our Harlem health center. These individuals, disproportionately people of color, deserve the best health care services available, but are often discouraged when they try to access the care that they need, facing discrimination for their justice history or lack of insurance, while often suffering from the effects of trauma or substance use.”

John Jay College of Criminal Justice President Karol V. Mason said: “One of the most powerful moments I’ve had at John Jay was visiting our college program at Otisville State Prison. As that program vividly shows, education is transformative. And John Jay College and the Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) are proudly leading the way, on behalf of the City University of New York (CUNY), to increase higher education opportunities for people involved in the criminal justice system. I’d like to thank the Manhattan District Attorney for funding the PRI College Initiative. This support allows John Jay to increase our outreach to more prisons, enroll more students after incarceration, contribute to safer neighborhoods through intentional reentry planning, and expand our robust community committed to student success.”

College and Community Fellowship Executive Director Vivian Nixon, said: “College & Community Fellowship is excited to be a CJII grantee. This funding will completely transform the scale of our work, allowing us to continue helping women with criminal convictions earn their college degrees, and provide support to a much wider population. In addition to serving women first coming out of prison, we are now able to assist women seeking jobs reflective of their higher education as well as children of incarcerated parents. These services fill a gap in reentry programs and are vital for our community, giving an underserved population a chance at success and happiness.”

Osborne Association President and CEO Elizabeth Gaynes said: “Through a CJII planning grant, the Osborne Association will further develop our Kinship Reentry model to create new pathways to success for people coming home from incarceration. Osborne’s 85-year history working behind the walls and in the community has taught us that many families would like to open their homes to returning loved ones, but that there can be financial barriers, questions about parole, or concerns about offering adequate personal support. Our model, based on the successful Kinship Foster Care concept that allowed relatives to receive the same foster care benefits that would have been provided to non-relatives, would offer financial support to offset the costs associated with welcoming a family member home. We thank Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and the entire team at the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative for their visionary leadership and belief in transforming our criminal justice system.”

Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Elizabeth Glazer said, “When New Yorkers leave custody and return to their communities we need to ensure that they have access to services and care. This can provide a pathway to stability. District Attorney Vance’s grant will support programs that are potentially transformative for many justice-involved people.”

Executive Director of the Fund for Public Health Sara Gardner said, “The Fund is pleased to collaborate with the Health Department to ensure that justice-involved individuals receive appropriate health care and social services.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer said: “The justice system shouldn’t be centered on incarceration, it should be focused on breaking cycles of crime and violence. Investments in reentry support and services are crucial and welcome, because it’s these programs that help people get their lives back on track, reduce recidivism, and break the cycle.”

Today’s Investments

District Attorney Vance has awarded grants of up to 3 ½ years totaling $7.2 million to help reentry providers develop strong and effective reentry services that mitigate many of the challenges of reentry and help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reintegrate into the community. The announcement follows the recent publication of a study by the Harvard Kennedy School, which shows that early interventions in health care, housing, employment and other social services may help to reduce recidivism for formerly incarcerated and reentering individuals.

Three organizations were awarded grants to test and implement innovative reentry approaches or enhance and expand reentry services and supports they provide in order to address the multiple and wide-ranging needs of individuals returning from jail and prison:

  • The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s NYC Health Justice Network
    • Award: $3,075,000
    • Primary demographic: People reentering Upper Manhattan after leaving jail or prison
    • Services and programming the award supports: Services and programming the award supports: The NYC Health Justice Network will link primary care sites to community based organizations in Upper Manhattan to serve the primary care and social service needs of reentering justice-involved individuals. The Network will implement trauma informed care in primary care clinics and train practices on the criminal justice system and associated health risks. Additionally, persons with a history of justice involvement will be recruited and employed as patient advocates and navigators to primary care and other necessary services, including housing, transportation, and employment services.
  • The Prisoner Reentry Institute’s College Initiative Program
    • Award: $2,049,647
    • Primary demographic: People in New York City who have participated in college-in-prison programming while incarcerated and wish to continue their college education after returning to their community
    • Services and programming the award supports: The College Initiative (“CI”) program will assist people returning to New York City after incarceration in enrolling and succeeding in college in the community. CI will provide intensive academic counseling and mentoring services in the community to students and, to support this, expand alumni activities and develop workshops and resources to aid CI students who are parents in creating educational pathways for their children pre-K to college.
  • The College and Community Fellowship’s Build-Out of Student Services
    • Award: $2,014,588
    • Primary demographic: Women soon to be released from jail or prison, and women who have been released from incarceration within the past 10 years who are living in New York City
    • Services and programming the award supports: Build-Out of Student Services (“BOSS”) will help formerly incarcerated women earn their college degrees and find career pathways. BOSS will enhance its existing Academic Support Program, and Peer Mentoring Program, as well as launch the Career Advancement Program.

A fourth organization was awarded a planning grant to create a blueprint for an innovative new model in reentry:

  • The Osborne Association’s Kinship Reentry
    • Award: $75,000 planning grant
    • Primary demographic: Individuals reentering New York City neighborhoods after leaving New York State prisons or New York City jails
    • Services and programming the award supports: The Kinship Reentry pilot, modeled on the subsidies provided for kinship foster parents, will enable family members to take formerly incarcerated family members into their homes through subsidies. This kinship care would meet the immediate needs that many individuals have when leaving incarceration—securing housing and receiving familial support.

CJII Research and Consultation Process

Today’s awards follow two open solicitations—a request for proposals to expand or enhance existing reentry programming and an innovation challenge seeking new ideas in fields of reentry —and subsequent review process led by the District Attorney’s Office and facilitated by the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG), CJII’s technical assistance provider. Representatives from New York City agencies and organizations, including the Langeloth Foundation, The Doe Fund, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Health and Hospital’s Correctional Health Services, New York City Department of Correction, New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, New York State Council on Community Reentry and Reintegration, and the NYU Silver School of Social Work participated in the review committee and provided expert feedback.

The CJII plan and investments are the result of an extensive process incorporating research, data analysis, and outreach to community leaders and stakeholders conducted by CUNY ISLG. As the technical assistance provider, ISLG analyzed research in areas affecting public safety in New York City, including systemic factors at the neighborhood level that have an impact on crime, and data from a number of agencies involved in the criminal justice system. In addition, ISLG conducted extensive interviews with more than 250 experts in the criminal justice community and related fields, including clinical practitioners; leaders from philanthropic, non-profit, and grassroots organizations; representatives of local, state, and federal government agencies; academics; and elected officials. Following this process, ISLG worked with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to develop a comprehensive set of investments that, together, will have a significant, lasting impact on public safety and justice reform in New York City. ISLG will provide program oversight and performance measurement to grantees selected under CJII.

Investments in Pre-Arraignment Diversion, Alternatives to Incarceration, and Reentry Programming

In October 2017, District Attorney Vance invested $7.1 million in three social enterprises to create employment opportunities and career training for at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers. In June, District Attorney Vance awarded $7.7 million in grants to divert first time, low-level offenders from the justice system through Project Reset, the Office’s signature diversion program. He has also previously invested $7.3 million in complete funding for New York State first statewide college-in-prison program. District Attorney Vance earlier announced funding to develop an abusive partner intervention program ($1.4 million).

Investments in Access to Victims Services and Youth and Family Programming

Also in October 2017, District Attorney Vance invested $3.75 million in innovative programs for youth transitioning out of the foster care system. Last April, District Attorney Vance announced the investment of $12.8 million in services for historically underserved victims of crime, including: people of color; immigrants and non-native English speakers; LGBTQ individuals; and individuals who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. In February 2017, he invested $45.9 million to create and construct “Youth Opportunity Hubs” to knit together community-based providers and build new spaces for young people; as well as $12 million to enhance family and youth development programming. This funding followed earlier investments of $1.6 million for a pilot network of community navigators to guide at-risk individuals to appropriate services and programs; and $7.5 million to expand Saturday Night Lights, the District Attorney’s Office’s signature youth violence prevention initiative operating in 14 locations across Manhattan.

Earlier Investments

Additional CJII investments previously announced by the District Attorney’s Office include: $90 million to equip the NYPD with tablets, handheld devices, and mobile databases for every police officer and patrol car; $101 million for critical NYCHA security upgrades, including cameras, lighting, and keyless access; $38 million to help end the national backlog of untested rape kits; $40 million towards the City’s comprehensive mental health initiatives, including $14 million for supervised release for eligible defendants pre-trial; and $25 million to form the cross-border, cross-sector, not-for-profit Global Cyber Alliance.

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