Education, Career & Enrichment

The Challenge

Young people who become incarcerated as the result of early involvement in the criminal justice system often cycle in and out of prison during much of their 20s and early 30s, a period when other young people are finishing college, accumulating job experience, beginning families, and reaching other traditional markers of the transition to responsible adulthood.1 Incarceration disrupts this course of youth and young adult development. The incarceration of a young person significantly decreases his or her likelihood of graduating high school and significantly increases the likelihood of future incarceration for violent crimes.2 Involvement in the criminal justice system is also closely interwoven with factors including race, neighborhood of residence, and poverty—with low-income young males of color who drop out of high school being more likely at any future point in their lives to be incarcerated than employed.3

Our Approach

CASES has developed a continuum of services designed to intervene as early as possible in a young person’s potential involvement in the criminal justice system. Our interventions for youth include:

  • Preventing the arrest of high-risk youth through neighborhood-based programs
  • Preventing the obtainment by teens of a criminal record (post-arrest but before a decision is made in Family Court to file charges)
  • Preventing the detention of teens awaiting trial in Family Court
  • Preventing the detention of low- and medium-risk young people age 16-24 awaiting trial in Criminal Court
  • Preventing the incarceration of medium- and high-risk young people age 16-24 facing felony convictions in Supreme Court
  • Preventing the recidivism of young people age 16-24 returning to the community from jail or prison

Across our youth services, CASES programs are guided by evidence-based principles including:

  • Risk-need-responsivity
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Trauma-informed care

Specific youth services offered through the programs linked below include:

  • Comprehensive screening and assessment including of clinical needs
  • Case management
  • Education and employment services
  • Mentoring
  • In-home family therapy
  • State-licensed mental health treatment
  • Substance abuse testing and counseling
  • Assistance with obtaining public benefits
  • Linkages to a network of support and treatment providers across New York City


Every year, CASES programs help thousands of high-risk young people residing in some of New York City’s most impoverished and violent neighborhoods to avoid incarceration, build skills and credentials, access meaningful opportunities for success in the community, and avoid recidivism. Among young people released from New York State prison by age 25, 60% will be convicted of a new crime within five years.4 In contrast, in CASES’ Court Employment Project—our primary alternative-to-incarceration program for felony youth—nearly 90% of recent program graduates have no new conviction within two years of completing CASES’ services.

For specific program information including outcomes, please see links below.


1 Raphael, S. & Stoll, M.A. (2014). A new approach to reducing incarceration while maintaining low rates of crime. Washington, D.C.: The Hamilton Project, The Brookings Institute. Retrieved from ^

2 Harris, B.H., Jacome, E., Kearney, M,S., & Parker, L. (2014, May). Ten economic facts about crime and incarceration in the United States. Washington, D.C.: The Hamilton Project, The Brookings Institute. Retrieved from ^

3 Ibid. ^

4 Salo, T. (2013). Results first business model: Reducing unnecessary confinement while reducing crime and recidivism. NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services Presentation made Feb. 11, 2013. ^

5The Governor's Commission on Youth, Public Safety, and Justice (2014). Summary of recommendations for juvenile justice reform in New York State. Albany, NY: Governor of New York State. Retrieved from ^

6 Abrams, L.S. & Franke, T.M. (2013). Postsecondary educational engagement among formerly-incarcerated transition-age young men. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation 52(4), 233-253. Retrieved from ^