ReStart Academy @ Friends is a full day high school for 16 – 18 year old students who are over-age, under-credited, and either released from custody (Rikers and DYFJ facilities), sentenced to probation, or court-involved. ReStart is a collaborative effort between Friends of the Island and District 79, the alternative school district of the New York City Department of Education.
Promising Resources, Policies, and Practices
Goal 2: Adult Support
Goal 7: Career Pathways
Goal 8: Post-Secondary Access
Goal 9: Smooth Transitions
A consent decree settling litigation against the state (J.G. v. Mills, cv-04-5414, E.D.N.Y.) requires that all students returning to New York City schools from placements in the juvenile justice system be promptly enrolled in school after release; credits earned while students were in court-ordered settings get evaluated and awarded on students’ transcripts; and students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) receive timely and appropriate special education services and placements.
New York City contracts with different community service providers in each borough to run reentry service programs for young adults 18-24 returning to their communities from the criminal justice system.
According to the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), which runs the program, Justice Scholars is a six-month program that provide[s] multiple tracks for participants at different levels–including options for young adults in high school, in pursuit of a GED, working on basic education, or ready for post-secondary studies.
According to the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), which runs the program, CEP “provides a safe and structured alternative to jail or prison for young men and women facing felony charges in New York City. The six-month program utilizes a strengths-based approach to help participants build their skills, address mental health and substance abuse needs and prevent further criminal justice involvement.” Upon enrollment, participants undergo several assessments to identify their educational and clinical needs.
According to the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES), which runs the program, CExP is a “workforce development program for court-involved youth that provides employment readiness training, career guidance, and meaningful work experience through paid internships, with the aim of setting … participants on a track of life-long learning and achievement.” The 14-week program includes employment readiness training followed by an 8- to 10-week internship, during which CASES pays a stipend and offers ongoing training and support to participants
Friends’ Jail-to-School Pipeline was developed in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education to reverse the trend of young people leaving Rikers Island, only to be delayed, discouraged, or prevented from re-enrolling in school.
The Parent Peer Support Program is a collaboration between the NYC Department of Probation and Community Connections for Youth (CCFY). The program provides parents of system-involved youth with “peer coaches” who can guide them through their child’s involvement in the juvenile justice system. The parent support group is a product of CCFY’s advocacy for juvenile justice systems to become more responsive to family needs.
Family Works is a program that focuses on supporting family cohesion as a component of re-entry and transition planning for people held in prison or jail. The program curriculum includes: Child-friendly Family Centers in visiting rooms where mothers and fathers bond with their children, courses on parenting, family events, outreach to families, and visiting opportunities for their loved ones.
District 79, the alternative school district of the New York City Department of Education, places court liaisons in criminal and family courts across New York City to assist court-involved students, their families, and the agencies that support them so that students experience minimal interruption to their education. Liaisons provide current and applicable information that supports court-involved students in achieving their educational goals.