ACS Chief: What the City Can Do for Incarcerated Youth That the State Can’t

New York City is a better place for local youth serving sentences than upstate facilities, which can cause separation that has “devastating” effects, ACS Commissioner Ron Richter told WNYC.

The governor and other state lawmakers reached an agreement this week on a budget that includes the so-called Close to Home initiative, which would grant approximately 400 youth serving sentences in facilities upstate transfer to New York City.

“We think that the critical component of family not being able to be part of the rehabilitation process for young people who are 14 and 15 years old is a driver of the recidivism rate,” Richter told WNYC on Wednesday.   

ACS will be responsible for overseeing the transfer, which will start in September. The agency is looking for 300 beds in non-secure facilities and expects to have a second call for beds for the juveniles this time next year.  

“We think this is a wonderful opportunity for the city and their families,” he said.

Those who will return to New York City have generally been charged with misdemeanors or non-violent felonies, Richter said.

With reporting by Cindy Rodriguez