NEW YORK—Manhattan District Attorney candidate Cy Vance announced on Wednesday at City Hall his plan to reduce recidivism in Manhattan. Cy Vance’s plan consists of a program to help those leaving incarceration to find jobs, housing, and other essential services. The program aims to reduce instances of repeated offenses. The focus of the plan is on re-entry into society and an alternative to incarceration.
Vance addressed the re-entry issue of how far too many people who get arrested and released in the same year and how it should it be fixed, “[We need] the law enforcement community behind them to make sure that when they come home they succeed— they maintain jobs, they maintain their families, and they become tax paying contributors to our system.”
According to a press release issued by Vance's office, 26,000 individuals are released from New York state prisons each year, of those, 4,500 return to Manhattan and approximately 38 percent of these individuals are re-incarcerated within three years.
Vance's plan, Enhancing Re-entry Services, will build on the efforts of retiring Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who launched The Fair Chance Initiative in 2008 in cooperation with the highly successful Ready, Willing and Able program.
In addition to the re-entry issue, Vance also addressed the issue of alternative incarceration, “I believe that we need to deal with non-violent drug offenders with treatment as opposed to prison where judges find it appropriate because it’ll make us safer, because those people are less likely to return to crime, that’s not a soft on crime approach, that’s smart on crime approach.”
Also at the event was Pamela Bowens, a defendant Vance diverted from prison to rehabilitation when he was assistant district attorney. Bowens spoke about how Vance had given her a second chance at life, and how important it was for the issue of recidivism to be addressed.
“Cy Vance helped save my life. Rehabilitatiton brought me from a drug addict with no future to a college graduate living a life that helps others. After I was arrested, Cy was smart enough to see that what needed to be fixed was the root of my problem, my addictions.”
Reverend Reginald Williams also reinforced the importance of the issue of recidivism, “When addicts walk through the doors of rehabilitation centers it is an opportunity to take back a life and to renew the bonds addicts have with their families, friends, and coworkers.”