New York City (Re)Embraces Alternatives to Incarceration as Cost of Jailing a Child Climbs

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After years of sustained advocacy from the Juvenile Justice Coalition, New York City has partnered with several non-profit organizations to create a new alternative-to-detention (ATD) program for pre-adjudicated youth in Family Court. The initiative replaces the Department of Probation’s prior, admittedly problematic, ATD program, which closed in 2006. The Coalition’s Fall 2007 Newsletter features an illustrative diagram prepared by the NYC Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator (printed alongside the CA’s notably similar model presented to the City in 2004), and details next steps in the ongoing campaign for more appropriate and effective juvenile justice policies.

According to the Mayor’s Management Report, the cost to incarcerate a young person in a New York City Department of Juvenile Justice secure detention facility is $551 per day. That number translates into a staggering $201,115 a year per child. In contrast, the cost to treat a young person in a community-based alternative-to-detention program is less than $15,000 a year.