Celebrating 30 years: 1981-2011The Center for Community Alternatives (CCA) is a leader in the field of community-based alternatives to incarceration.  Our mission is to promote reintegrative justice and a reduced reliance on incarceration through advocacy, services and public policy development in pursuit of civil and human rights.

CCA serves people in trouble: youth at risk; families in crisis; people struggling to address drug and alcohol problems and HIV and AIDS; and people who have been involved in the criminal justice system who are seeking community reintegration and productive, law-abiding lives.  CCA endeavors to address these issues by emphasizing personal empowerment, self-respect and concern for one's community.

News & Events

June 11, 2018, New Research Report Highlights Challenges in Reducing Mass Incarceration. It's widely known that the total number of individuals incarcerated in the United States has come down over the last several years. The question remains: What does this mean for the future? Have we turned the corner on mass incarceration, or is it just a brief head fake? In a fascinating new research report, Malcolm Young, provides informed answers to these questions based on rigorous research. He shows where the declines in incarceration have actually taken place over the past 18 years, where they have not, and what this suggests for the future. Mr. Young, who has led CCA's Project New Opportunities Program in Washington, D.C., is a prison reform attorney and activist.

February 24, 2018, "Protect the pardoned; release stigma of past". David Condliffe, CCA's Executive Director, responds to a Times Union editorial demanding that Governor Andrew Cuomo release the names of people who received pardons for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies committed when they were 16 or 17 years old. The recipients have all lived crime-free for at least ten years and deserve the benefit of anonymity to properly restore access to employment and other opportunities.

CCA is delighted that the State of New York has raised the age! In doing so, we join 48 other states that recognize that young people are still growing and as such need developmentally appropriate ways to be held accountable. The legislation raises the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18. CCA is proud of having participated as a lead member of the Raise the Age NY campaign. We were honored to work with affiliates of the Gamaliel Network in mobilizing Upstate support for Raise the Age. The Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS), the Rochester Alliance of Communities Transforming Society (Roc/ACTS), VOICE-Buffalo, and the Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope (NOAH) each spearheaded powerful coalitions of faith leaders and other community members. We thank those public officials who stood firm and passed this legislation. We must continue our advocacy to ensure that this new law is implemented in the spirit in which it is intended. We are grateful to the Tow Foundation for their support of our work on Raise the Age.

PBS News HourPresident Obama has commuted the sentences of more federally incarcerated individuals than any other president. CCA's Project New Opportunity, funded by Open Society Foundations PNO connects people being released from federal prison by Presidential commutation and sentence modifications to reentry resources in their home communities. PNO Deputy Director, Norman Brown, was interviewed on PBS NEWSHOUR, January 10th, telling his own story of 24.5 years In federal prison and his recent release through the president's clemency project. Link to interview: www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/obama-left-mark-criminal-justice-system/. Link to Project New Opportunity: www.projectnewopportunity.org.

Build to LeadGovernor Cuomo announces a new Recovery Community and Outreach Center (RCOC) at CCA in Syracuse! CCA-Syracuse will become one of the next 5 RCOCs established in the state, for a total of 14. The new centers will provide health, wellness and other critical support to individuals and families who are recovering from a substance use disorder or are seeking recovery services for a family member or friend. Prevention Network of Syracuse will be a partner in this initiative providing prevention services at the Syracuse Recovery Community. Look for the opening in Spring 2017.

CCA has a long history in providing recovery supports and services. We received federal US HHS/SAMHSA funding for a robust center from 2001 – 2009. United Way of Central New York has supported CCA's recovery drop-in center since 2014. We also have a recovery community in Rochester, supported through Monroe County/ NYS OASAS funding since 2009. Through the years, CCA has worked with federal and state representatives to identify a range of recovery services, and policies and procedures, to help guide the delivery of peer services throughout the local, state and national recovery community.

My name is Rafeal Quintana, Compliance Monitor at CCA and host of "The Q Files." I joined the CCA family as a participant and am now a full-time staff member, inspiring court-involved youth to rise above their circumstances. Tune in every Tuesday for a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and what we stand for. Peace, Q

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"Education Suspended: The Use of High School Disciplinary Records in College Admissions" - This report highlights findings from CCA's national surveys of college admissions officials and high school guidance counselors. It concludes that the collection and disclosure of high school disciplinary records in the college admissions process is arbitrary and likely to disproportionately create barriers to higher education for students of color and students with disabilities. Click here to read more about "Education Suspended."


"Boxed Out: Criminal History Screening and College Application Attrition" - This report builds upon CCA's 2010 study, "The Use of Criminal History Records in College Admissions Reconsidered" and explains how the criminal history box on college applications and the supplemental requirements and procedures that follow create barriers to higher education for otherwise qualified applicants by the phenomenon of "felony application attrition." Click here for the “Boxed Out” publications.