Launched in February 2012, TCY is adapted from Back on Track, a program developed in San Francisco as a one-year alternative to trial and sentencing for first-time, non-violent drug offenses. The evaluation of TCY highlights several important impacts:
- Re-arrest rates for TCY participants are almost half those of a comparison cohort. The program boasts a 15% recidivism rate, one-year post graduation. More importantly, less than 17% of graduates had a felony conviction five years post-program.
- Justice system impacts include cost savings through reduced incarceration rates and shifting judicial system leaders’ perceptions about the efficacy diversion programs.
No less important are the participant outcomes. The thirteen-month program boasts an 82% graduation rate. Nearly three-quarters of the participants found and kept jobs during the program, with most being full-time employment. One in five participants took advantage of educational and skill-building opportunities, including high school diploma completion.
They gave us opportunities that we would never have had in our entire lives. I would not have gotten my diploma this year if not for TCY. I’d probably be in jail if it wasn’t for TCY. It’s taught me so many things since the first day I’ve been here. – TCY graduate
The report found several factors contributing to the success of the program including (1) the strong partnership between the Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney, judicial system, Defenders Association of Philadelphia and JEVS; (2) the month-long orientation allowing both participants and partners to determine if the program is a good fit for the client and setting them up for success; (3) the holistic case management approach; and (4) the balance of flexibility and accountability in design and implementation.