Alternatives to Incarceration Programs Are Key to Undoing Rikers’ Damage

Alternatives to Incarceration Programs Are Key to Undoing Rikers’ Damage


The closure of Rikers Island in 10 years is one part of reforming criminal justice in New York City. To create a compassionate system that breaks the cycle of incarceration and helps individuals with justice involvement become productive members of the community, we must implement a thoughtful, multifaceted, and rehabilitative approach to justice.

Our most recent issue of The Fortune News explores necessary steps to true transformation after Rikers Island. In it, Rob DeLeon, Fortune’s Associate Vice President of Programs, details the role that Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) programs play in ensuring that the mistakes of Rikers Island are not repeated.

Staff and participants at The Fortune Society advocating for increased funding for New York's Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) programs

Read an excerpt of his article below, then enjoy our latest issue of The Fortune News for a full picture of the possibilities of justice after the era of Rikers Island has ended.

Since 1991, our Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) programs have reduced the prison and jail population, helped thousands of individuals receive holistic and supportive services, improved public safety, and saved taxpayers millions of dollars.


Stationed in courthouses across the City’s boroughs including Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, our Court Advocates forge relationships with Assistant District Attorneys, Defense Attorneys, and Judges to recruit eligible participants into our ATI programs. Once enrolled, participants are still under justice supervision in the community while their case is pending and receive critical reentry services that help them thrive after their justice involvement.

A student who found success in The Fortune Society's Education and Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) programs

Our ATI programs were designed to address the multifaceted needs of our participants. Our model of care, informed and implemented by professionals with similar cultural backgrounds and life experiences, helps participants meet their physical, emotional, and psychological needs. From tackling substance use and mental health disorders to addressing self-destructive behaviors, our programs were formulated to holistically address the root causes preventing individuals from thriving and contributing to their communities.

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