Removing Barriers to Successful Reentry
The Next Door Project trains older adult volunteers to help people with conviction histories request, read, and repair their NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services rap sheets (and FBI rap sheets, if they have arrests from outside New York State). Next Door Project counselors also help individuals apply for Certificates of Good Conduct or Certificates of Relief from Disabilities, which provide presumptive evidence of rehabilitation and overcome numerous statutory barriers to employment and licensure.
Next Door Project counselors often work closely with clients for several weeks or months, helping them to become intimately familiar with their convictions so that they can honestly discuss them with prospective employers; and even accompanying them to court when necessary to correct errors on their conviction histories. Counselors draw on the expertise of the CSS Legal Department to help clients fix difficult problems with their rap sheets, including sealing old arrests that did not lead to criminal convictions, and to address criminal records-based employment and licensing discrimination through advocacy and litigation where necessary. The Next Door Project works with more than 30 nonprofit organizations, including job training programs, reentry programs and treatment programs, who refer clients to us on a regular basis.
How to Access the Next Door Project
The Next Door Project serves low-income New Yorkers, and our work is done free of charge. Intake is held once a month here at our offices at CSS at 9:30 am, but you must call in advance in order to be included (see information below). Intake sessions consist of a brief introduction to our program, a review of how official criminal records are made and potential mistakes, and information about laws that protect individuals with criminal conviction histories from discrimination. This is followed by completion of necessary paperwork Clients must bring some proof of identity, such as a Benefit card or other official ID.
Please choose from this Next Door Project Rap Sheet Repair Intake/Workshop schedule. To schedule an intake appointment please call (212) 614-5441.
If you or someone you know would like our help to get a copy of your/their official criminal record, review it for mistakes, work to clean it up, and help you/them apply for a certificate of relief from disabilities or a certificate of good conduct, please call our hotline at (212) 614-5441. Leave a message with contact information and we will return the call and schedule you/them for one of our intake sessions. We can sometimes see people individually if they cannot come to an intake session due to scheduling conflicts.
PLEASE NOTE: New York’s New Sealing Law went into effect on October 7, 2017. Questions about the new law? Call us at (212) 614-5441 and leave your message. We will return your call.
- Here is a CSS Fact Sheet on the new Sealing Law.
- The office of Governor Andrew Cuomo has also created a Sealing Law Fact Sheet.
If you are an older adult aged 55+ and interested in being trained as a Next Door Project Counselor volunteer, please contact Program Specialist Carlos Jesse at (212) 614-5471.