Results from the Rikers Early Release Program, launched by New York City in response to the prevalence of COVID-19 in jails, show the program is reducing health risks while ensuring public safety.
In March 2020, New York City's Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice asked the Center for Court Innovation, along with the city's other two supervised release providers, to offer remote supervision and referrals to services for people released early from a jail sentence. In the program's first month, the Department of Correction released about 300 people into supervision from high-risk conditions in the jails.
Six months into the program, under unprecedented circumstances for both participants and staff, more than 20,000 check-ins had been completed and providers had given participants more than 400 referrals to community-based supportive services. As of September 2020, the vast majority of people released into supervision had completed their sentences; 78 percent were in compliance with daily check-ins at the point of discharge from the program.
The scramble to help get people off Rikers Island, on our New Thinking podcast.