Project Reset

Overview

Project Reset offers meaningful diversion opportunities at the point of arrest to 16- and 17-year-olds in New York City. The goal is to create a proportionate response to low-level crime, holding young people accountable for their actions while avoiding the use of incarceration and the potential harms associated with standard case processing. The program provides young people an off-ramp from the criminal justice system following their first encounter with it and seeks to strengthen the legitimacy of law enforcement and the justice system in the eyes of the public by connecting young people to needed services and programming. As a restorative alternative to criminal court, successful participants have their cases dismissed and are able to avoid the collateral consequences of a criminal record. Project Reset is currently active in parts of central Brooklyn and all of Manhattan.

How It Works

Eligibility: Project Reset serves 16- and 17-year-olds who have been arrested for low-level, non-violent crimes. They must be first-time offenders with no involvement in any other ongoing investigations or cases. The program handles cases involving charges of drug possession, trespassing, and shoplifting, among other low-level offenses. 

Process: Police screen for eligibility at the point of arrest, issue a Desk Appearance Ticket, and alert the young person about Project Reset. Prosecutors review each case and a defense advocate discusses the merits of the program with the client. If the young person elects to participate, he/she must engage in a two-session restorative intervention administered by the Center for Court Innovation. Upon successful completion, the prosecutor declines to prosecute the case, the participant does not have to go to court, and no record of their engagement with the justice system is retained.

Interventions: Restorative interventions offered by Project Reset include youth court hearings, counseling sessions, letters of apology, community service, and group workshops with other teens. 

Results: The Center for Court Innovation is planning a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the program to analyze its impact on recidivism and procedural justice. In evaluating Project Reset, the Center seeks to demonstrate a new way of dealing with low-level nonviolent adolescent defendants that can be replicated in other jurisdictions.

Testimonials

I feel like whoever made this program was a genius at giving people second chances and giving people the push they may need. I’m happy I did this and shout out to the officer that put me in this.

“I would like to thank Project Reset for giving me a second chance in a situation which could have ruined my future, especially with upcoming college applications.”

I really enjoyed Project Reset. I feel like it was very informative and very chill. I feel like it’s a great program to get in touch with your inner self.

I think that Project Reset has changed me in a certain way. It made me think about life and how you can change yourself and to fix that mistake.

In the News

How Do We Keep People Out of Jail: In the second half of this piece by Vice, Center for Court Innovation director of operations, Adam Mansky, explains the origins and successes of the Project Reset model.

Vance Announces $78M in Funding for New Anti-Crime Programs: Politico reports on the impetus behind Project Reset and other pretrial diversion programs, with support from the Manhattan District Attorney Office.

Pilot Program Gives Youth in Brownsville a Second Chance: The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange profiles the work of Project Reset at the Brownsville Youth Court at the Brownsville Community Justice Center in Brooklyn.

Teenagers to See Counselor, Not Judge, for Minor Crimes: The New York Times reports on the launch of Project Reset.

Contact Information

Aaron Charlop-Powers, senior planner at the Center for Court Innovation: powersa@courtinnovation.org

Partners

Project Reset is a collaboration among the Center for Court Innovation and the New York City Police Department, New York County District Attorney's Office, Kings County District Attorney's Office, the Office of Court Administration, the Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, New York County Defender Services, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, the Defense Bar, and the 18-B panel.

Featured Research

Publications

Fact Sheet: Project Reset

Fact Sheet: Project Reset

This fact sheet provides an overview of Project Reset, an initiative that seeks to create meaningful diversion opportunities at the point of arrest for young adults in New York City.

Contact
  • New York
  • 520 8th Avenue
  • 18th Floor
  • New York, NY 10018
  • phone: 646.386.3100
  • Syracuse
  • 601 Tully Street
  • Syracuse, NY 13204
  • phone: 315.266.4330
  • London
  • Canterbury Court
    1-3 Brixton Road
  • London, SW9 6DE
  • phone: +44 2076.329.060