If you find yourself charged with a crime, the first thing you should do is find a New York criminal defense attorney that specializes in handling the offense you are charged with. Any reliable attorney should be willing to meet with you for a consultation…
Were You Arrested in New York City? Here is What You Need to Know about New York’s Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) Programs
The United States has a serious problem with mass incarceration. When viewed in contrast to the rest of the world, the numbers are truly striking. According to data provided by the Prison Policy Initiative, the American incarceration rate in the year 2016 was 716 per 100,000 people. This figure is (by far) the highest in the world. For reference, New York’s state incarceration rate is approximately 40 percent lower than the U.S. national average. But it is still higher than any other country in the world, with the sole exception of Cuba.
In recent years, policymakers all around the country have started to review the research. It strongly suggests that the mass incarceration is a poor choice. Many states, including New York, have put considerable resources into developing policies and programs that offer alternatives to traditional incarceration. Through its work with local leaders, New York state has developed an array of Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) programs. These allow people to receive mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, education, and employment training.
Depending on the specific facts of your case, one of these programs might be available to you. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell whether you are eligible. The information can be hard to find, and New York prosecutors and law enforcement agencies are rarely willing or able to share the full picture with criminal defendants.
We are committed to advocating for the best interests of our clients. New York City Criminal Defense Lawyer George Vomvolakis works to protect the legal rights of criminal defendants throughout the region. If you or a family member was arrested in the New York City metro area, please contact our office today to get immediate legal assistance.
Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) Programs Available in New York City
New York City Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES)
The Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES) operates an array of programs. They are designed to increase community safety through education and employment. This starts with promoting recovery and rehabilitation, along with creating new opportunities. For this ATI program, the target population is first-time felony offenders (typically between the ages of 16 and 24) or misdemeanor offenders who would otherwise likely go to prison. The services available through this program vary depending on the case in question. Before being admitted into a CASEA ATI program, a person must undergo a comprehensive risk and need assessment. From there, they may be deemed eligible for services that include:
- Individual counseling;
- Group counseling;
- Family services;
- Housing services;
- Mental health treatment;
- Substance abuse services; and
- Educational and employment services.
The New York City Probation Department
The New York City Probation Department provides programs and services to help people avoid incarceration. ATI programs operated by the agency include pretrial release services, alternative sentencing programs, as well as adjustment services programming. The Probation Department participates in the Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) program. PINS helps to place certain young offenders into the care of a professional agency, instead of into the greater prison system. In many cases, working with a New York City defense lawyer to seek probation instead of incarceration is the best path to recovery.
Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC)
The New York City Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC) operates at five different sites. It oversees more than 20 different specific programs. Created in the late 1980s, TASC was intialy designed to be an alternative for non-violent drug offenders. It provides much-needed treatment to people, so that they can help move forward with their lives and promote a better overall atmosphere within their community.
TASC is a complex program that provides individualized services. Suitable offenders who have substance abuse problems may be able to go through a diversion program through TASC that will allow them to avoid incarceration. Through intensive treatment, professional counseling, and essential support, TASC has helped many people successfully reintegrate themselves into the broader society.
Center for Community Alternatives Youth Advocacy Project
Most youth offenders have Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) program options available to them. One of the best examples is through the Center for Community Alternatives (CCA). Within its Youth Advocacy Projects, the CCA operates a wide variety of programs. The mission of the agency is to promote rehabilitation and reintegrative justice. Through policy advocacy and providing direct services, the CCA helps certain youth offenders avoid incarceration. If you are a parent or a caregiver of a minor who is facing a serious criminal charge, you should speak to a New York criminal defense lawyer about the available ATI programs.
New York City Fortune Society Programs
The Fortune Society promotes alternatives to incarceration and operates several different ATI programs. The organization strives to build people, not prisons. It fosters communities where people can avoid incarceration. Instead, it helps them rehabilitate so that they can thrive as contributing members of their society. Some notable examples of programs Fortune Society offers include:
- NYC Fortune Society DAMAS: This ATI program promotes public safety by providing substance abuse treatment to female offenders in New York City who would otherwise go to prison.
- NYC Fortune Society Flametree: This ATI program provides rehabilitative treatment to felony offenders who would otherwise be facing at least six months in jail.
- NYC Fortune Society Freedom: This ATI program is for men and women who do not have substance abuse problems, but who need treatment. These offenders would otherwise be facing more than six months in prison.
The New York Impaired Driver Program
The New York Impaired Driver Program (IDP) is a diversion program that is open to many first-time DUI/DWI offenders. For people charged with an intoxicated driving offense, the Impaired Driver Program offers considerable benefits. It is the best available option to protect their rights and interests. Most notably, drivers who go into the IDP can avoid incarceration. Additionally IDP participants may be able to keep their criminal record clean. They may even be able to avoid revocation or suspension of their New York state driver’s license. As with all other Alternative to Incarceration programs, people charged with a DWI offense should consider their ability to access this option.
Find Out If You Qualify for an Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) Program
If you are facing prison time in New York City, and you are able to get into an ATI program, you will want to take advantage of this option. However, it is not always easy to figure out how to do so. Two questions that our we frequently receive are:
- “Am I eligible for an Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) program” and
- “How do I get into an Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) program”.
There is no simple, straightforward general answer to these questions. That is because criminal defendants in New York may be able to get into many different Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) Program. There are programs operated by the state, by New York City, and even by the federal government. Each program has its own unique criteria for admission. often, getting accepted into an ATI program is actually a two-step process. A defendant may first need to be admitted by the organization operating the program. Then they must also seek approval to enter the program from a New York judge. Many people find the entire process to be confusing and frustrating, so they give up and deal with incarceration. This is a big mistake; please do not let this happen to you. You should consult with an experienced New York City criminal defense attorney who will be able to review all of your available options, and determine exactly what steps you need to take to avoid incarceration.
Contact the Law Offices of George Vomvolakis Today
If you or a loved one was arrested and charged with a crime in New York, we are ready to help. We will do whatever it takes to get the best possible results for you and your family. This includes exploring all of your available options regarding New York’s Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) programs.
To learn more about what our top-rated criminal defense lawyer can do for you, please give us a call today at (212) 682-0700 or contact us directly online. We offer free, fully confidential case evaluations. From our office in Midtown Manhattan, we represent clients throughout the region, including in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.