The Opportunity Youth Part (OYP) initiative—launched in New Rochelle City Court in October 2020— links emerging adults facing misdemeanor or felony charges, ages 16 to 24, to local service providers who offer workforce development training and access to employment, academic assistance, behavioral health services, and mentors from the community. The Hon. Jared R. Rice presides over Opportunity Youth Part and oversees a weekly Thursday calendar that includes one hour of conferencing with service providers, attorneys and mentors, and a one-hour follow-up calendar with Opportunity Youth Part participants and their lawyers. The program takes a community-centric approach to adjudicating all matters and incorporates restorative justice and procedural fairness measures. Approximately 125 individuals have so far engaged with the program, which is the first Emerging Adult Justice initiative in the 9th Judicial District and a model for other communities.
- Participants are assigned a Judge, attorney, and case managers
- Offered independent clinical assessment
- Provided with Court-designed individualized Wellness Plans
- Provided ongoing case management with clinical staff, including regular check-ins based on the participant’s progress and individual needs
- Referrals to positive community-based services that offer jobs and workforce training; educational assistance; substance use and mental health services; community service hours; financial literacy; enrichment workshops; and housing and childcare services
- Weekly compliance reporting is given to all Court parties
Goals of the Program
- To link participants to positive community resources that will open career and educational doors, offer assistance with behavioral health challenges, and provide them with a second chance at succeeding at life.
- To build positive relationships by connecting participants to caring adults, including case managers, service providers, mentors and Court personnel.
- To improve case outcomes by increasing the likelihood that a participant who is in full compliance with his or her court-based wellness plan will receive a more favorable disposition.