For Immediate Release: 5/31/2018
Justin Mason | email@example.com
Press Office, Division of Criminal Justice Services | (518) 457-8828
NEW YORK HOSTS STATEWIDE RE-ENTRY AND REINTEGRATION CONFERENCE
More than 250 Criminal Justice Professionals and Service Providers Discuss Effective Strategies to Assist Formerly Incarcerated Individuals Successfully Return Home
More than 250 criminal justice professionals and service providers gathered in Albany today to explore effective practices and services that help formerly incarcerated individuals lead productive, crime-free lives when they return to their communities. The New York State Conference on Re-entry and Reintegration is bringing together professionals from state and local agencies, community-based organizations and service providers to share best practices and evidence-based strategies that are proven to reduce recidivism and reliance on incarceration.
“New York continues to experience declines in reported crime and its prison population, which is in part due to a concerted effort to pair formerly incarcerated individuals with services and programs designed to help ease their transition back into the community,” said Michael C. Green, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. “The goal here is to bring together the professionals and service providers focused on re-entry so they can share their collective knowledge and build on the successes that have contributed to these positive trends.”
The day-long conference, hosted by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services and Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, features panel discussions and presentations exploring effective measures that help transition formerly incarcerated individuals back into their communities. Topics include how to prepare incarcerated individuals to return to their communities; college programs that allow them to continue their studies once they complete their prison sentences; strategies for reunifying with family members following a period of incarceration; and the legal tools available for them to overcome barriers to employment, licensing and housing posed by a criminal conviction.
Under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York has advanced multiple initiatives to remove obstacles that formerly incarcerated individuals face once released from prison, including ending blanket discrimination against people with criminal convictions in state-funded housing, public college admissions, state employment, and insurance coverage for employers who hire people with criminal convictions. In addition, a provision of the state’s landmark Raise the Age law allows individuals who have remained crime-free for 10 years to request that certain New York convictions be sealed. As of May 18, 314 individuals have successfully petitioned the courts to seal convictions since that provision took effect on Oct. 7, 2017. Click here for more information about that process and eligibility requirements.
New York State also provides $3.8 million annually to fund re-entry task forces located in 20 counties: Albany, Broome, Bronx, Dutchess, Erie, Kings, Monroe, Nassau, New York, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Queens, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester. The task forces are designed to manage and coordinate services for roughly 5,0000 formerly incarcerated individuals upon return to their respective communities, including substance abuse and mental health treatment; job training, placement and skill development; and cognitive behavioral interventions designed to help them change patterns of thinking that contributes to criminal behavior.
Funding for the task forces is administered by the Division of Criminal Justice Services and they are co-chaired by chief elected officials from host counties or their designees, such as the county probation director, social services commissioner or district attorney, and representatives from the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Task force membership also includes representatives from law enforcement, community supervision, social services and mental health professionals, as well as victim advocates and substance abuse treatment providers.
Anthony J. Annucci, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, said, ““DOCCS focuses upon the re-entry process from the moment a person’s sentence of imprisonment begins and throughout their entire incarceration, until their release to the community and ultimate discharge from supervision. It is a process that matches each incarcerated person with the specific programs and treatment services that are designed to address their particular needs. Equally as important, DOCCS recognizes and embraces the many criminal justice and community partners who also play a vital role in ensuring successful re-entry outcomes.”
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who serves as co-chair of the Governor’s Re-entry and Reintegration Council, said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State has already put in place revolutionary, progressive measures to help the formerly incarcerated reenter society and succeed. But there’s still more to be done. This important conference brings all stakeholders together to find additional ways to give those who have done their time a real second chance. We fundamentally believe in a society where we have an opportunity to right our wrongs. I’m proud to work with my colleagues to deliver pathways to successful reintegration to society.”
The New York 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.