People who are arrested for low-level charges across New York City can resolve their cases without ever stepping into a courtroom.
An arrest can cause lasting harm, threatening people's housing, employment or immigration status, and possibly lead to more system-involvement in the future. People who are arrested for low-level charges across New York City have the chance to resolve their cases without ever stepping into a courtroom.
Since 2015, our Project Reset has helped over 5,500 people resolve their cases without the lasting damage of a permanent criminal record. Instead, they have an opportunity to participate in two-to-four hours of programming, ranging from group workshops and restorative justice circles to arts programming and individual counseling sessions. With the support of the district attorneys' offices and the New York Police Department, Project Reset recently expanded and is now available in all five boroughs.
The program’s shift from punishment in court to community programming has become a national model. Birmingham, Alabama, recently launched its own version for those arrested for the first-time on low-level felonies. The Brennan Center for Justice named Project Reset a recommended policy initiative.
This supportive and non-punitive approach responds to misdemeanors while reducing the direct and collateral harms of the legal system. In all our work, we strive to foreground respect and dignity as we transform the justice system to be effective, fair, and humane.
Transforming justice together means not being afraid to ask critical questions of our work and the system; and answer them in collaboration with communities. It means confronting racism and other inequities... and looking at how underlying social iniquities contribute to criminal justice system involvement and addressing those inequities. — ANNA POMPER, Project Reset