Offer More Re-entry Support, Advocates Urge City

The Alternatives to Incarceration/Reentry Coalition rally was held May 10 on the steps of City Hall. (Photo by Gregg McQueen via The Bronx Free Press)

The Alternatives to Incarceration/Reentry Coalition, made up of 10 community-based support programs for formerly incarcerated individuals, is encouraging the city to add another $1 million to the 2018 budget to further support such programs, writes Gregg McQueen in The Bronx Free Press.

“New Yorkers involved in the criminal justice system face daunting barriers to reentering society successfully, so we want to make sure that support for ATI and Reentry Coalition programming and services continues,” said Rob DeLeón, Associate Director of Youth Services at Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES).

He said ATI programs helped nearly 6,000 individuals avoid incarceration in 2016.

“With reentry services, people are getting back on track and not having doors slammed in their faces because they’re formerly incarcerated, and what we’re also doing is preventing recidivism,” DeLeón stated.

Advocates gathered at City Hall on May 10 to make their case. Among them was Leviticus Mitchell, 22, who ended up behind bars for gun possession at the age of 14. After his release from Rikers, he received help from the Fortune Society – help which connected him with educational opportunities and job placement assistance.

Some at the rally stressed that these support programs will be especially needed in coming years.

Fellow Councilmember Rory Lancman said support of reentry programs was essential for achieving the city’s goal of closing Rikers.

“If you’re serious about closing Rikers, then you need to be serious about alternatives to incarceration and alternatives to detention,” stated Lancman.

To hear more, especially from some of the coalition members, go to The Bronx Free Press.

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