Senator Kevin Parker and Assemblyman Edward Gibbs Join with Broad Coalition to Announce Introduction of Reentry Fund that Would Provide Nearly $2,600 to New Yorkers Returning from Incarceration

CEO Media Contact:
Matt Sutton | [email protected] | (646) 951-4811

Legislation Would Help Cover Cost of Basic Necessities During Critical Reentry Period and Help Reduce New York’s High Recidivism Rate

Albany, NY – March 5, 2024 – The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), a founding member of the Coalition for Reentry Cash, lauded New York Senator Kevin Parker and Assemblymember Edward Gibbs for introducing groundbreaking legislation aimed at transforming the reentry experience by replacing the insufficient amount of 'gate money,' the money people receive when leaving incarceration, with an innovative Reentry Fund.

New York-based members of the Coalition for Reentry Cash - CEO, The Fortune Society, The Osborne Association, and Center for Community Alternatives - have been leading the advocacy for the proposed legislation, [S6643A/A9115], which would establish a reentry fund, with an approximate allocation of $2,550 per eligible individual, to empower thousands of New Yorkers to cover basic necessities, such as food, housing costs, and preparation for employment upon release from prison.

Currently, the more than 11,000 people who are expected to reenter communities from prisons in New York this year are provided with a meager $40 in "gate money" when they leave incarceration and face strict supervision conditions that generally require them to be able to pay for housing and transportation, along with food and other basic needs.

"As the first formerly incarcerated person in the New York State Legislature, I understand the monumental challenges facing those reentering society from our state prisons. Every year, thousands of individuals return to our communities, often with little more than the clothes on their backs,” Assemblymember Edward Gibbs stated. This isn't just about financial assistance; it's about dignity, stability, and reducing the likelihood of re-offense. By offering this support, we're not only aiding individuals but also investing in the safety and prosperity of our communities. I urge my colleagues to recognize the transformative potential of the Reform to Gate Money Bill. Together, we can turn the tide on recidivism and pave the way for successful reintegration, ensuring all New Yorkers get a second chance."

“Today, people are sent home from prison with $40. It’s hardly enough for even a day of food. By replacing the antiquated 'gate money' concept with a dynamic fund that addresses essential needs, we are not only investing in the futures of New Yorkers coming home from incarceration but fostering the creation of safer and more productive communities, ” Sam Schaeffer, CEO of the Center for Employment Opportunities. “We know this approach works. CEO has distributed cash assistance to nearly two thousand New Yorkers through the Returning Citizen Stimulus and the results were transformative. The program evaluation found that recipients primarily used the money to cover things like food, housing, transportation, and essential personal care items. And by not having to worry as much about these basic survival needs, they were more likely to be able to find quality employment and were less likely to end up incarcerated again.”

“When people leave prison in New York, all too often they do not have safe and stable housing. They do not have jobs. They may have work to do in repairing relationships with loved ones. They may be facing physical and mental health challenges, without clear connections to care. Even those people who are fortunate to come home to family, who have housing, are burdened with the stigma of a conviction and will face barriers to successful reentry as a result. Prison wages are so meager as to be nearly inconsequential. And we, as a state, only provide them with $40 for their fresh start. To truly support people on their reentry journeys, to enhance public safety, and in the name of racial and family justice, we must do better – and we can. The Fortune Society is honored to support this critical bill alongside our sister agencies.” - Ronald Day, Senior Vice President of The Fortune Society's David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy

"Osborne Association believes people should have access to comprehensive support and resources when they walk out of prison, often after decades, including meaningful financial assistance. We support the Reentry Fund bill as a remedy to the practice of providing $40 and a bus ticket, which far too often lead straight to the shelter system and unsafe situations that can result in reincarceration. A growing body of research and the results of the Returning Citizen Stimulus during the pandemic demonstrate the cost-effective benefits of direct cash assistance. The first months and year following incarceration are full of challenges and critical for long-term success; reliable income and stable housing can make all the difference. This bill is an important part of a larger effort to remove reentry barriers and set people up for success, which benefits and strengthens all of our communities," - Tanya Krupat, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Osborne Association

“The Center for Community Alternatives strongly supports The Gate Money Program Bill [S6643A/A9115]] to increase the amount of gate money that people receive upon return from incarceration. 50 years ago, the Citizens' Inquiry on Parole and Criminal Justice found that DOCCS did “next to nothing” to help people avoid post-incarceration poverty, and that the same $40 given to them is “inadequate”. That $40 was not enough then - and it is not enough now, especially when that same amount of money was worth more than six times as much in 1975, adjusting for inflation.” says Katie Schaffer, Director of Advocacy and Organizing at the Center for Community Alternatives. ”Incarcerated workers in New York’s state prisons make between 10 to 65 cents an hour, and many have their commissary accounts garnished. The $40 they receive upon release is drawn directly from their own funds. There is no way for someone incarcerated in New York State to prepare, financially, for release. By creating a Gate Money fund, people returning home will have access to $425 a month for up to six months in guaranteed income, adjusted for inflation each year. This will not only reduce recidivism and advance public safety, but is the first step in ensuring that our neighbors and loved ones who will be coming home this year can begin to access basic needs in one of the most vulnerable times in their lives.”



The Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) provides immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services exclusively to people recently released from incarceration. CEO currently operates in over 30 cities and is dedicated to ensuring that justice-impacted job seekers have opportunities to achieve social and economic mobility. For more information please visit: