In the absence of meaningful, proportionate alternatives for low-level offenses, many jurisdictions default to the use of short-term incarceration. This imposes both significant public financial costs and potentially lasting harm to individuals and communities. Moreover, recent research in New York City suggests the misdemeanor population has a strong propensity to repeat justice-involvement fueled by unmet needs for treatment and services in areas such as housing, substance use, and mental health.
For misdemeanors, however, sentences involving intensive, long-term interventions are disproportionate to the level of the offense. Up & Out offers an alternative: a brief, non-custodial intervention marrying elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy, procedural justice, trauma-informed practices, and ecological systems theory to help defendants critically consider ways to avoid future justice-involvement. This report details the design, implementation, and impacts of Up & Out, revealing strong positive feedback from participants and facilitators despite no effects on participant re-arrest (versus standard community service mandates).
The final curriculum and facilitators guide are public domain; email us to learn more.