October 20, 2021
In order to assess the cultural competency of ATI and reentry services specific to the LGBTGNCNBQI+ population in New York City, a participatory action research project was conducted in the fall of 2020. This project was conceived by the Legal Action Center and the New York ATI/Reentry Coalition. TakeRoot Justice provided substantive professional support in partnership with a leadership team of formerly incarcerated LGBTGNCNBQI+ individuals. New York City and State are nationally known for their highly effective network of ATI and reentry programs, which have been critical to the State's success in simultaneously reducing crime and the prison population and saving taxpayers millions of dollars. However, while New York has substantially reduced the number of people behind bars, it continues to incarcerate many thousands of individuals who could benefit from an alternative to incarceration programs which, when targeted appropriately, are more effective than prison in reducing recidivism and are ultimately less costly than incarceration. Our research shows that, despite the robust range of reentry services available, existing ATI and reentry programs are limited both in their LGBTGNCNBQI+ cultural competency and ability to meet the specific service needs of LGBTGNCNBQI+ people, resulting in this broad and diverse community being significantly underserved by current programs. In addition to results from the survey, profiles of various members of the formerly incarcerated LGBTGNCNBQI+ community in New York City are also included in the report. With this information, we were able to find out more about what service providers in New York City are currently doing and where they need more support - and to also begin to identify and direct them to resources that can help. LGBTGNCNBQI+ people leaving incarceration and returning home to any of the five boroughs need the support of ATI and reentry service programs that understand and can address their specific needs. This report aims to help providers identify and address areas of deficiency, as well as success, within their organizations, as they strive to offer comprehensive, welcoming, culturally competent, high-standard, accessible services to LGBTGNCNBQI+ participants.