“The millions of dollars forfeited to my Office by banks which violated U.S. sanctions represents a tremendous opportunity to make a lasting impact on the criminal justice system.”
— District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
The Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., established the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (CJII) to invest approximately $250 million of criminal asset forfeiture funds in projects that will improve public safety, develop broad crime prevention efforts, and promote a fair, efficient justice system in New York City.
The Manhattan DA’s Office selected the City University of New York Institute for State & Local Governance (ISLG) through a competitive process to provide technical assistance for the investment of the asset forfeiture funds. ISLG provides guidance and oversight to award recipients and conducts performance measurement across the initiative.
CJII envisions a New York City with safer communities and a fairer and more efficient justice system.
To achieve this vision, CJII intends to invest in impactful, sustainable, and data-driven ideas to improve the criminal justice system and the lives of people living in New York City.
To improve public safety in New York City and enhance fairness and efficiency in the city’s justice system, CJII focuses on investments along a continuum, from preventing criminality, to improving access to and speedy disposition of justice, to enhancing diversion and reentry efforts.
Across this continuum, the Manhattan DA’s Office is investing in planning and pilot projects; research and evaluation; service delivery; training and technical assistance; and public education.
Three principles guide all investments under CJII:
- Commitment to data-driven decision making. CJII investment decisions will be informed by relevant data. We are also developing processes to collect and analyze data and evaluate investments using empirical evidence. We will share what we learn through CJII so that future work can build on these strategic investments.
- Commitment to effective, sustainable investments. CJII is committed both to addressing immediate needs and to investing in innovative ideas to provide lasting tools and services that will improve people’s lives and their communities in the longer term.
- Collaboration across sectors. Recognizing that significant lasting change will require a multisystem effort, the Manhattan DA’s Office is committed to working collaboratively across sectors to achieve CJII’s vision of reform.
The CJII Strategic Plan outlines the initiative’s vision, goals, and specific funding priorities for innovative and effective community projects.
A key component of CJII is collecting data to measure success. Performance measurement and evaluation of CJII grantees and programs are critical to assess what is working well and what could be improved. Toward this end, CJII award recipients will report on progress over the lifetime of the funding. ISLG will work with award recipients to identify and specify program goals and objectives, measure baseline and target values appropriate for their projects; and identify, collect, and report on process, output, and outcome data. In addition, there will be funding opportunities to conduct evaluations of some of the programs under CJII.