Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $3.3 million for re-entry task forces in 19 counties that coordinate and manage services for formerly incarcerated individuals to successfully transition back to their communities.
“This funding will jumpstart local efforts to help formerly incarcerated individuals build a positive future as they return to their communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “By investing in substance abuse programs, mental healthcare, job training opportunities and similar initiatives, we are making the re-entry process safer for everyone involved. This is all about making New York a stronger and more secure place to live and work, and I am proud to be supporting our partners across the state.”
The task forces are designed to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety by supporting community-based programs. Included is funding to hire a coordinator for each task force, in addition to services for formerly incarcerated individuals that otherwise would not be available.
To receive the funding, each task force was required to detail a plan for delivering targeted, evidence-based programs and services to individuals. This included mandatory cognitive behavioral intervention, which is designed to address risk factors for recidivism and change behavior. Services also include substance abuse and mental health treatment, job training, placement and skill development.
Task forces are located in the following counties: Albany, Broome, Bronx, Dutchess, Erie, Kings (Brooklyn), Monroe, Nassau, New York (Manhattan), Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester counties.
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services administers the funding and works in partnership with the non-profit organizations that received the grants, providing technical assistance, training and feedback to ensure the task forces are implementing evidence-based programs as they are designed.
In 2014, the Governor created the New York State Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration to alleviate barriers faced by people with criminal convictions as they seek to reintegrate into society. The Council has surveyed County Re-entry Task Forces to identify regulatory and administrative changes that would improve the prospects for people coming home to their communities. Based on their feedback, the Council is working with state agencies to put into place a number of regulatory and administrative changes that are in final stages of implementation to be announced later this year.
Michael C. Green, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, said, “Our staff has done extensive research to explore programs that work to keep parolees out of prison once they return to their communities, as well as the programs that do not. We are committed to ensuring that programs we fund produce the best results and get the best return, not only in financial but human terms. Effective re-entry programs help offenders change their behavior so they can live productive, crime free lives, which reduces victimization and makes New York a safer place.”
The task forces are made up of local representatives from law enforcement, community supervision, social services, mental health, victim advocacy and substance abuse treatment providers. In each of the 19 counties, the re-entry task forces are chaired by a representative of the county’s chief elected official and a representative from the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Anthony J. Annucci, Acting Commissioner of the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo’s continued focus to reduce recidivism rates and I fully support the continued funding of meaningful reentry services for parolees. Under Governor Cuomo, the state’s inmate population has declined to the lowest it has been in more than 25 years. DOCCS will remain committed to ensuring inmates are prepared for release and will encourage parolees to participate in task force services available in their communities."
The funding cycle runs from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, with programs eligible to receive up to four annual renewals. Grants are awarded to counties and/or specific county agencies, which in turn partner with non-profit organizations, or directly to non-profit organizations.
The funding is being allocated as described below:
New York City
- Bronx County, which partners with The Osborne Association: $100,000
- Kings County District Attorney’s Office: $200,000
- New York County, which partners with the Center for Court Innovation and Fund for the City of New York: $200,000
- Nassau County Department of Social Services, which partners with the Family and Children’s Association: $165,600
- Suffolk County Probation Department: $363,840
- Dutchess County, which partners with Exodus Transitional Community, Inc.: $100,000
- Orange County Probation Department, which partners with RECAP, Inc.: $141,120
- Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, which partners with Rockland Independent Living Center: $100,000
- Ulster County, which partners with Family of Woodstock, Inc.: $100,000
- Westchester County District Attorney’s Office: $139,680
- Albany County Department of Mental Health: $195,840
- Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office: $100,000
- Schenectady County, which partners with the Center for Community Justice, Inc.: $118,080
Central New York
- Oneida County, which partners with the Workforce Investment Board: $114,240
- Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office and Department of Social Services: $270,240
- Broome County Department of Mental Health: $101,760
- Monroe County Probation Department, which partners with DELPHI: $353,280
Western New York
- Erie County Department of Mental Health, which partners with Spectrum Human Services: $367,680
- Niagara County Probation Department, which partners with Community Missions: $100,000
The Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision also are partnering with the Department of Labor to host job summits to support professionals that specialize in re-entry and the work of the task forces. The first summit was held earlier this month in New York City and two others will be hosted in the Capital Region and Western New York in the coming months.
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