Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $10 million in funding to support programs providing job training and other re-entry services to individuals currently under community supervision. Additionally, these grants will create a new state-supported County Re-Entry Task Force in Queens and allow 19 other existing Task Forces across the state to assist more people returning to their communities after serving state prison sentences.
“These investments play a critical role in ensuring those seeking to turn their lives around have access to the tools and resources needed to succeed,” Governor Cuomo said. “Expanding these services will be able to help more at-risk New Yorkers break the cycle of recidivism and incarceration, helping them to lead more productive lives and increasing the safety of our communities.”
The first $6.4 million in grants will be awarded to 13 agencies and non-profit organizations across the state to provide employment-focused services to individuals on parole, those supervised by probation or referred by the court to alternatives to incarceration programs. These grants will be distributed across the state and will allow services to be available for the first time in five counties, which include Ontario, Orleans, Steuben, Tompkins and Wayne counties.
The 13 organizations receiving funding will use evidence-based strategies to reduce recidivism and reliance on incarceration. These programs, which range in duration from three months to up to a year, include job placement services, as well as cognitive behavioral intervention and services to increase job readiness, including transitional employment. Approximately 2,500 individuals will be served by these programs annually.
The remaining $4 million in grants will create a new County Re-Entry Task Force in Queens and allow 19 existing Task Forces to hire a coordinator and serve more individuals in Albany, Broome, Bronx, Dutchess, Erie, Kings, Monroe, Nassau, New York, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester counties.
The 20 task forces have a collective goal of serving approximately 5,000 individuals returning to their counties after serving a state prison sentence. These individuals have been assessed as needing coordinated substance abuse and mental health treatment; job training, placement and skill development; and cognitive behavioral interventions, which are designed to help individuals change thinking that contributes to criminal behavior, improve positive motivation and further develop social skills.
County Re-entry Task Forces are co-chaired by representatives from the county and the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and include law enforcement, community supervision, social services and mental health professionals, as well as victim advocates and substance abuse treatment providers.
The list of funded agencies and organization can be found here.
Division of Criminal Justice Services Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green said, “I commend Governor Cuomo for supporting and expanding these initiatives, which use evidence-based practices. These programs and services have been proven effective in helping people to have the best possible chance to break the cycle of recidivism and change the course of their lives for the better.”
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci, said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for his visionary leadership in providing the resources to assist offenders along their journey to a successful reentry into the community. When an ex-offender obtains lawful employment not only is the recidivism rate lowered, our communities are safer and the tax base for New York is raised.”
During his tenure, Governor Cuomo has consistently worked to remove barriers faced by people with criminal convictions as they seek to reintegrate into society. At the recommendation of the state’s Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration, he has, among other things, instituted ‘fair chance hiring’ for state agencies and implemented uniform anti-discrimination guidelines in assessing candidates for occupational licenses — 94 percent of qualified applicants with criminal convictions have successfully obtained state-issued occupational licenses as a result. The Council’s work and these grant-funded programs also complement the state’s Work for Success program, which connects formerly incarcerated men and women to jobs through connections developed through Department of Labor career centers. Through the program, approximately 18,500 individuals across the state have found jobs.
About the Division of Criminal Justice Services
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state’s DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.