Justice-Involved Youth

Two smiling young women sit in an office with a woman wearing a yellow shirt that says Staten Island Justice CenterPhoto used with permission of the Center for Court Innovation 

Being involved in, accused of, or affected by a crime doesn’t have to keep you from following the path that you want to be on. Check out the resources below to get connected to support and opportunities around the City, better understand your case, or find help if you have been impacted by a crime.


Resources & Opportunities

No matter your future goals or past experiences, NYC has resources to help you get where you want to be. Whether you want access to jobs or academic help, are looking to get involved in the community, or need someone to talk to, you can find free support around the City or in your community.    

Internships & Work

Academic Support

Volunteering & Enrichment

  • NYC Service encourages New Yorkers to serve each other, and lists volunteer opportunities.
  • Youth WRAP is a service-oriented program for youth ages 14 – 26 on Probation.
  • Justice Community  engages teens and young adults in the adult criminal justice system in community projects.
  • Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON) offers a wide range of services—from job readiness to arts programming—for probation clients and others in the community.

Mentoring

  • Arches connects young adults on probation to mentors with similar life experience in their own neighborhoods.
  • Next STEPS offers group mentoring for young adults living in NYCHA developments served by the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety.

Find someone to talk to

It’s important to make time and space to take care of yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some support, there are many places you can find someone who can listen and help.

  • NYC Well offers free and confidential support for problems like stress, depression, anxiety, or drug and alcohol misuse.
  • YouthHealth Clinics around the city provide free, confidential support to youth under 18 years old.
Learn more about mental health

The Justice Process

If you’re accused of committing a crime, you can learn more about the juvenile or criminal justice process and your rights while you go through it below.  

Youth (7 – 16)

In New York City, youth ages 7 – 16 who have gotten arrested are tried as Juvenile Delinquents in Family Court. Starting October 1, 2019, NY State will raise the age of youth cases to 17. Youth who are 13 – 16 years old and are accused of committing a very serious crime may be tried as a Juvenile Offender in NYC’s adult courts (Supreme or Criminal Court).

Learn more about the juvenile delinquency process

Possible Outcomes
If you’re under 17 and get arrested, your case could lead to many different outcomes. It might be dismissed before going to trial, adjusted or diverted (settled outside of court), or sent to court. If a Family Court judge hears your case and finds you responsible for the crime you’re accused of, they will decide on one of the following outcomes:

  • Conditional Discharge & Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal
    The court may send you home without placing you on Probation, but the judge might order you to follow certain conditions.
  • Alternatives-to-Placement
    If Family Court sends you back to the community, you may be referred to an alternative-to-placement program, which provides services at home. Examples of programs include:

  • Probation
    The judge might place you on Probation. You will be assigned a Probation Officer, who will meet with you and help you follow conditions ordered by the judge.
  • Placement
    In some cases, the judge might decide it’s better for you to live outside of your home and order a “placement.” Placements can either be in non-secure facilities (“group homes”) or limited secure facilities. In placement, you will continue to go to school.

Young Adults (17 – 24)

Youth 17 and older who are accused of committing a crime are tried as adults. Starting October 1, 2019, NY State will raise the age of adult cases to 18. If the NY court system considers you an adult and you have been arrested, you can learn more about the steps of adult cases on the New York State Courts website.

Possible Outcomes
Not every arrest leads to a criminal case, and there are many possible outcomes if you get arrested. If prosecutors do charge you and you plead guilty or are found guilty, the judge will decide on a sentence. Sentences can range from conditional discharge (release under certain conditions) and probation to fines and prison or jail time, or a combination.

If you have an open case, you can also ask your attorney about alternative-to-incarceration (ATI) programs, which offer rehabilitation and support services outside of jail or prison. Examples of programs include:

  • Common Justice: A program for youth with violent felonies to take part in circles and make agreements about how to make things “as right as possible”
  • Court Employment Project: A program for youth 15 – 24 facing felony charges with services to help develop skills and access opportunities

For more ATI programs, visit the New York State ATI program directory.

Understand your rights

You have certain rights that everyone must respect, both outside of and during the justice process. Examples of your rights include:

  • Miranda rights: If you’re arrested and questioned, you don’t have to speak to law enforcement, you can have a lawyer, and you have the right to get the lawyer free of charge. Police must read the Miranda warning to you before they question you.
  • The Fair Chance Act: It is illegal for most employers to ask about your criminal record until after they offer you a job. 
Learn more about your rights

Reentry Services

If you’re in detention, placement facilities, jail, or prison, or you’re coming back to the community, there are many resources in NYC that can help support your transition home.

Education
Youth who are in juvenile detention, placement facilities, or adult jail have the right to keep going to school and work towards a high school diploma through the school year that they turn 21.

All students at juvenile justice facilities and Rikers Island should have a Transition Specialist to help with education planning and support them once they return to the community. For more information about your options for school, see the Advocates for Children Guide for Court-Involved Students.

Getting Your Rights Back
In some adult criminal cases, a conviction can have “collateral consequences,” outcomes that are not a part of the court sentence that can negatively affect your life. These can include limits on job opportunities, voting rights, student loans, or public benefits, among other impacts.

If you’re facing collateral consequences, you might be able to get a judge to issue a certificate to remove them. Learn more about getting your rights back.

Find reentry services

Jails to Jobs is an initiative that provides paid transitional work and support services to people leaving City jails. Through participating organizations around NYC, you can get services such as:

  • Job training and job readiness workshops
  • Connections to permanent jobs
  • Family support and reunification
  • Case management
  • And more

You find services through organizations around the City, or connect with Friends of Island Academy to find support for youth ages 16 – 21.

Learn more

Family in the Justice System

For youth with a parent, sibling, partner, or other loved one in the justice system, NYC has resources to help you stay connected and get support.

Family support

The Osborne Association offers a wide range of services to people involved in the justice system and their children and families. Support includes:

  • Youth development and leadership programs for children of incarcerated parents
  • Family-focused reentry planning
  • Prison and jail visiting support
  • And other family-focused services

Learn more about the Osborne Association

Staying in touch

  • Department of Corrections visitation: If you have a loved one in a City jail, you can stay connected by visiting and sending packages. Learn more about the Department of Correction (DOC) rules for visitors.
  • Video visitation: For New Yorkers—particularly those with young children—the Telestory Video Visitation program allows families to talk, read, and share stories with incarcerated loved ones from libraries in all five boroughs.

Support for Victims of a Crime

If you have been affected by a crime, you can get information and help with expenses related to the crime, referrals to other service providers (including counseling and mental health), and assistance with the legal process. You can find support through:

Find support near you with the NYC Crime Victims Services Finder.

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
Not every relationship is healthy, and domestic violence can take many forms. These can include:

  • Physical violence
  • Verbal abuse
  • Forced sex
  • Threats against you or loved ones

If you or someone close to you is experiencing these things with a partner, help is available. To find free and confidential support:


LGBTQ
NYC strives to be a place where everyone feels equal. You have the right to be yourself and be treated with respect. Learn more about your rights and how to report when anyone denies them.