Research of Consequence: NYC Increases Programs to Keep Felons from Returning to Jail

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Faye S. Taxman: ‘This is the best of science, helping people solve problems.’

Originally published on November 19, 2020

New York City is expanding their use of community programs and spending millions of additional dollars and increasing the number of providers who support participants in a program that diverts felons and “high utilizer” misdemeanors from jail, according to the Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office of Criminal Justice. The expansion of the successful Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) program is based on research from the Schar School’s Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence! (ACE!).

According to an announcement made by the Office of Criminal Justice, “The expansion comes after a multi-year, cooperative effort by the city, policy experts, non-profits, and justice-impacted people to revamp its original ATI programming. Partnering closely with Dr. Faye S. Taxman, a nationally recognized criminologist at George Mason University, the city identified the key support and service opportunities that, if expanded, can lead to improved long-term results for program participants.”

These new expansions will help more people stay out of jail, both during their participation in ATI programming and going forward, the office said.

“We used the ‘Risk-Need-Responsivity’ Simulation Tool methods which allowed us to better understand the needs of clients,” said Taxman. “The New York City Office of Criminal Justice wanted to expand services in meaningful ways, and our tools helped them do so. This is the best of science, helping people solve problems.”

For more on the science, and the RNR Simulation Tool:

Over the next two years, New York City will increase its investment in ATI services by providing approximately $55 million in total funding to expand available programming.

“New York City continues to be a national leader by investing in programs that help support the community, while continuing to safely reduce the number of people in jail,” said Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “The expansion of our ATI programming is an important aspect of the city’s commitment to building a smaller, safer, and fairer justice system by implementing robust, community-based support services to ensure enduring safety.”

The Schar School of Policy and Government is a significant contributor to George Mason University’s Research 1 University status, with current active grants totaling $25 million.