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NYC Opportunity program strategies focus on helping court-involved individuals build their education and job skills to promote employment and stability while reducing recidivism.

Several programs use community benefit projects or mentoring, while others focus on employment and educational attainment. Programs include comprehensive services that provide court-involved individuals the tools they need to avoid recidivism and maintain self-efficiency. Many of NYC Opportunity's justice initiatives are supported jointly with the Young Men's Initiative. NYC Opportunity determines program success based on whether participants are attaining educational and employment goals, and reduction of recidivism.

Justice Initiatives Program Data by Fiscal Year


>AIM: Advocate, Intervene & Mentor

AIM is an alternative-to-placement program that utilizes a one-on-one mentoring model with a paid advocate-mentor available 24/7. Advocate-mentors help adolescents on juvenile probation to strengthen social, familial and community bonds, and to connect to wrap-around services. AIM seeks to enhance community safety by providing intensive mentoring and advocacy.

AIM Evaluation Reports

Arches Transformative Mentoring

Arches is a group-mentoring program for young adult probation clients, utilizing an evidence-based curriculum centered on cognitive behavioral principles delivered by credible messenger mentors. In addition to weekly group sessions, mentors are available to meet one-on-one with the young adults and are also available for support, advice and guidance. In conjunction with the mentoring, participating young adults work one-on-one with their probation officer, who is trained in the Arches transformative mentoring approach and provides complementary case management.

Arches Transformative Mentoring Evaluation Reports

ECHOES: Every Child Has an Opportunity to Excel and Succeed

ECHOES is an alternative-to-placement program with a focus on workforce development. Participants receive case management and life coaching services from their Probation Office. In addition, the ECHOES program offers life skills preparation, work development, and service learning opportunities, offered by CBO partners. the Department of Probation (DOP) and CBO partner staff jointly manage weekend and summer work teams.

Educational Expansion on Rikers Island

The Expansion of Educational Programs on Rikers Island initiative expanded basic literacy, numeracy, GED preparation and testing, and vocational training, combined with a small monetary incentive, for inmates ages 19 to 24.

Westat/Metis Early Implementation Report, 2008

Food Handlers Certification

The Food Handlers Certification program offers both sentenced and detained individuals in Department of Corrections (DOC) facilitates food handlers and First Aid/CPR/AED certification courses, as well as employment workshops.

Justice Community

Justice Community offers court-involved young adults a range of employment and career related opportunities and services, including community benefit projects, job readiness training, career exploration services, and job search assistance. Community benefit projects are central to the program model, and help participants to develop soft and occupational skills, as well as teamwork and project management experience, while fostering greater community engagement. Justice Community also offers case management services, basic education, and high school equivalency test preparation classes, and encourages post-secondary education, technical education and/or occupational training leading to nationally recognized credentials. This program is jointly funded by NYC Opportunity and YMI.

To learn more about Justice Community, visit the YMI website.

Justice Scholars

Justice Scholars is an education-based program serving court-involved young adults living in communities with high rates of poverty and incarceration, and low rates of high school completion. The program offers multiple educational tracks (pre-HSE, HSE, high school completion, and post-secondary), as well as job readiness, career exploration and case management services. This program is currently inactive.

Learning Independence for Empowerment (LIFE) Transitions Programs

The LIFE Transitions Program provided transitional services for youth leaving juvenile detention to return to their communities. Community-based organizations provided workshops to youth in secure detention, then continued and expanded the services after youth return to the community. This program is currently inactive.

Westat/Metis Program Review Report, 2008

Model Education: CUNY Catch

CUNY Catch aimed to reduce recidivism, increase attainment of HSEs, increase college enrollment, increase the employment and future earnings of formerly incarcerated young adults, and increase public safety by providing outreach to youth on Rikers Island and educational and vocational services to young people after release.

The core components of the CUNY Catch Program included on-island pre-release services at Rikers and post-release services that take place at the three off-island locations. Pre-release services provided outreach and recruitment conducted through individual and group sessions that included an assessment of educational and vocational needs and transition planning. Post-release services included pre-HSE courses, HSE classes, college remediation classes, career counseling, assistance with job placement, assistance with college application and enrollment, and counseling. This program is currently inactive.

Westat/Metis Program Review, 2008

Model Education: Getting Out & Staying Out

Getting Out & Staying Out (GO/SO) aimed to reduce the recidivism rate of formerly incarcerated young men by assisting them in completing their high school education (i.e., HSE), acquiring job skills, finding meaningful employment, and enrolling in higher education.

GO/SO's programmatic implementation was divided into various on- or off-island activities, each contributing to the program's comprehensive mentoring approach to transitioning participants to their communities and helping them gain stability in their lives. On-island activities include outreach and recruitment, transitional planning, one-on-one counseling, court involvement, and the correspondence program. Off-island, center-based activities include coach support, individual counseling, vocational training, career management, and educational referrals. This program is currently inactive.

Westat/Metis Program Review, 2008

Model Education: Supportive Basic Skills Program

The Supportive Basic Skills Program aimed to reduce recidivism among young people (ages 16 to 24) who have been released from DOC custody on Rikers Island by addressing the pressing educational needs present in this target population. The basic education classes, provide by Friends of Island Academy (FoIA), were designed to provide a solid foundation upon which to build toward attainment of a high school or HSE diploma. In order to recognize the multiple challenges that these young people face in trying to successfully reintegrate into their communities, education services were embedded within a larger comprehensive case management framework that offers counseling and work and career supports. This program is currently inactive.

Westat/Metis Program Review, 2008

NYC Justice Corps

NYC Justice Corps is a cohort-based program serving justice system-involved young adults that combines workforce development services and recidivism risk reduction strategies. Participants engage in restorative service through participation in Community Benefit Projects, intensive work readiness services, case management, cognitive behavioral interventions, and flexible support for placement in educational programs, 'next-level' work readiness programming, vocational training and employment. This program is jointly funded by NYC Opportunity and YMI.

Learn more about NYC Justice Corps.

NYC Justice Corps Reports


PhotoVoice is a photography program in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brownsville and Red Hook giving low-income young adults currently involved in or at risk of involvement with the criminal justice system the opportunity to participate in a "visual dialogue" of self-exploration. Professional photographers engaged students through a series of workshops, field trips, and final exhibits focused on issues relevant to their neighborhoods. This program is currently inactive.