At the age of seventeen, Carlos was mandated to the Court Employment Project (CEP) on a felony robbery charge. Previously, Carlos was unemployed and did not attend school regularly. "All I cared about was myself," he recalls.
OutcomesLess than 15 percent of CEP graduates have a further criminal conviction within two years of graduation.
The Court Employment Project (CEP) started in 1967 as a demonstration project of the Vera Institute of Justice and was designed to give judges sentencing options other than prison or probation for teen offenders. In 1989, it transitioned to CASES as one of our founding programs.
Today, CEP is an alternative-to-incarceration program for youth ages 16-19 facing felony charges. The program combines a strengths-based, youth development focus with accountability to the courts. The youth development model emphasizes youths' skills and abilities in helping them set high expectations for their own educational, vocational and social development. Over the years, CASES has continuously innovated and expanded the program, for example, introducing gender-specific activities for young women, offering GED-preparation and testing, and placing youth in meaningful internships.
Screening and Advocacy
CASES court staff screen defendants in Supreme Court, advocate for participation in the program with judges and prosecutors, and report to the courts on participant progress and compliance.