Project Reset seeks to provide a more proportionate and meaningful response to low-level offending by offering individuals with no prior arrests the opportunity to avoid prosecution and the collateral consequences of involvement with the criminal justice system. Rather than appearing in court, participants complete two sessions of alternative programming. The district attorney's office declines to prosecute the cases of successful participants whose arrest records are then sealed, leaving no criminal court record.
This report evaluates the program pilot, available at the time to 16- and 17-year-olds arrested across Manhattan (the program has since expanded to cover all ages in the borough with further expansions in New York City to follow). Study results point to positive program impacts overall, including reductions in recidivism, improved case outcomes, and positive perceptions among participants. Participants had fewer new arrests and new convictions and spent longer periods without experiencing a new arrest. Nearly all of the participants completed the programming. Participants reported that the program provided them with an opportunity to reflect on their actions surrounding their arrest with nearly all of them saying they would recommend the program to others.