Preparing People to Return from Jail to the Community


When Mayor de Blasio took office, individuals detained in city jails had access to an average of less than one hour per day of education and skills training. This lack of programming can have a negative impact on a person in custody’s likelihood of reoffending. In fact, a 2013 RAND Corporation study showed that participation in prison education, including both academic and vocational programming, was associated with an over 40 percent reduction in recidivism—saving $4 to $5 for each dollar spent. Conversely, programming that is wisely designed and connected to life upon release can lift people up and set them on a path of productivity and advancement.


The City is now offering new re-entry services that will help prevent recidivism and ensure that people leaving jail have opportunities to embark on a productive and stable future. The City has built a system tailored to each individual’s vocational, educational and therapeutic needs.

Now, every person who enters City jail is met with counselors on day one, who assess their unique risks and needs. Once in jail, incarcerated people are offered five hours every day of individualized, tailored programming.  Support continues after someone leaves jail and returns to the community through a citywide re-entry network, called Jails to Jobs. The program includes four components:

  • Peer Navigators: Everyone leaving city jails after serving a sentence will be paired with a Peer Navigator from a new public health-informed program in which peers who have successfully stabilized after incarceration help those who are recently released to achieve this same stability.
  • Transitional Employment: Everyone leaving city jails after serving a sentence will be offered paid, short-term transitional employment to help with securing a long-term job. Research has shown that connecting those recently released from prison to short-term transitional jobs can reduce recidivism by 22%.
  • Career Advancement Support: The City will continue its partnership with the City University of New York to offer educational subsidies to 500 people per year who leave City jails after serving a sentence. Subsidies support earning certificates and other credentials that promote career advancement, including the opportunity to become a certified peer and join the Peer Navigators for the Jails to Jobs program. Equivalent to one semester of education at CUNY, this subsidy can be used toward a degree or certificate program that can qualify individuals for higher paid employment in the long term.

Jails to Jobs will be folded into the larger network of non-profit reentry providers in New York City. These providers will help individuals in securing longer-term employment. They will also provide these individuals with connection to housing, health care, benefits, and other supports that can help to build a stable future.


Recent Data


reduction in recidivism when incarcerated people participate in educational programs

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