We hold people accountable through a supervision model tailored proportional to the level of risk that the individual’s behavior exhibits and ensure access to services and opportunities, in an effort to successfully move those on probation off of the criminal justice system. Most importantly, we do all of this in, and with, the communities our probation clients call home, with the help of our government and community-based partners. This balanced approach reinforces the expectation that people on probation are capable of the behavior change necessary to address the factors that brought them to us in the first place as they work toward creating what we refer to as their “New Now.”
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Anyone Can Excel - The ACE Model
The ACE adolescent/young adult supervision model (Anyone Can Excel) was launched by Commissioner Bermúdez in 2016. ACE is a specialized unit and caseload that focuses on clients age 16 to 24, the group at the highest risk of re-arrest, recidivism, and gun violence.
First, ACE staff are specially trained to supervise young people on probation. They then follow a three-phased sequence, emphasizing relationship-building, regular in-home visits to promote progress, and strong community connections. ACE is a highly individualized, “one-size fits one” approach that staff and officers credit with helping clients achieve greater personal growth, as shown by this excerpt from a client letter.
“Being on probation has been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I know that sounds weird but there's nothing wrong with hitting rock bottom as long as you make sure to never hit rock bottom for the same thing again. Through probation I became an AmeriCorps member. My probation officer motivates me to be the best that I can be. She checks up on me to see what I am up to and how I am doing.”
— Letter from an ACE client
Probation Officers assigned to ACE receive specialized training in the Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework to learn how to effectively engage young adults on the topics of violence, peer relations and decision making.
Staff members also undergo extensive training in:
In this phase, we want to get to know the client, assess risks and needs, and build a personal rapport. First, we use either YLS or LSI-R for age-appropriate, validated risk assessment. The probation officer will then use the results of the assessment to create an Individual Action Plan (IAP) made up of realistic, measurable milestones with input from the client and the client’s circle of care. The IAP will be used in every meeting between the officer and the client.
The probation officer and client continue to meet regularly, with the frequency determined by the risk assessment. Officers use cognitive behavioral techniques, focusing on areas of highest risk and the risk-specific Stage of Change. This encourages clients to be active participants in their own growth, working with the probation officer to assess progress, encourage a positive attitude, and address counterproductive behavior.
Connections to the community help clients grow and make long-lasting change. We teach them how to navigate the community and use it as a source of strength that will sustain their success long after they complete probation. To forge those connections, we refer clients to individual mentors, group mentoring programs and anti-violence initiatives that help them avoid hurting others or falling into harm’s way.
Clients participate in groups using the Decision Points Curriculum to increase , encourage pro-social behavior and improve decision making.
Promoting Accountability and Community Ties (PACT)
The PACT program focuses on probation clients sentenced as felony offenders who have been identified as being abusive in their personal relationships. It is a partnership between DOP and the New York State Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives (OPCA).
PACT serves residents of the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. The program’s goals are to secure the safety of the victim while holding the offender accountable. Victims are referred to a community-based advocate for assistance with safety planning, housing needs, and counseling.
Participants attend 12 weeks of educational classes in English or Spanish. The PACT curriculum was created by Safe Horizon. After completing the classes, participants are referred to a 26-week domestic violence program within their community.
After successfully completing the program, the probation client is reassigned to a specially-trained High-Risk Probation Officer.
Rapid Response Team
The purpose of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) is to provide support to the primary supervision PO in the supervision of clients (new and historical) convicted of Robbery, Assault and/or Weapons (RAW) offenses and to aid in the implementation of risk reduction and risk management strategies. The unit will offer field support to the primary supervision PO during traditionally off hours/days, or other appropriate borough supervision based duties that require attention during these off hours/days.