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

David C. Condliffe has been named by CCA's Board of Directors as the new Executive Director effective November 9, 2015. Mr. Condliffe's career spans the nonprofit, law and public sectors, including positions with the New York City Mayor's Office of Drug Abuse Policy under Mayor David Dinkins, work with the Drug Policy Alliance, development positions with Rutgers University Law School and Brooklyn Law School and most recently Director of Development and General Counsel at the Osborne Association.

CCA is pleased to announce the publication of our 2014- 2015 Annual Report. (Click here to read.)




Marsha Weissman, founder and outgoing executive director of the Center for Community Alternatives, won the non-fiction book award from the Syracuse YMCA's 2015 CNY Book Awards for her new book, Prelude to Prison. Through interviews with young people suspended from school, Weissman examines the impact of zero tolerance and other harsh disciplinary approaches that have transformed schools into penal-like institutions.

Marsha Weissman and Prelude to Prison was also featured on C-Span2 Book TV.



CCA announces the release of its latest publication, "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."


TAP logoCollege Education in Prison: Why it's a Smart Choice for Everyone, Marsha Weissman, Executive Director, Center for Community Alternatives & Sandy Lane, Professor of Public Health and Anthropology, Syracuse University. Today, legislators in New York State are considering S975/A2870, a bill that would repeal the ban on incarcerated people receiving financial aid for college education through TAP. TAP grants to students in prison are a cost-effective way to provide an education that aligns with the visions of both college and corrections institutions. Read full blog here. Join the TAP/PELL Campaign.

NY Time logoThe New York Times editorial, March 15, calls for colleges and universities to remove application questions that are barriers to college admission for people with criminal records. The editorial cites information from the Center for Community Alternatives' (CCA) report, "Boxed Out" that nearly two thirds of SUNY applicants who checked the "yes" box regarding past felony convictions never completed the application process. Read the New York Times Editorial.


We are pleased to share with you "When All Else Fails, Fining the Family: First Person Accounts of Criminal Justice Debt" written by Mitali Nagrecha and Mary Fainsod Katzenstein with Estelle Davis. The report provides first person accounts of the impact of criminal justice debt - child support, victim restitution, fines and fees - on reentry and community reintegration. It discusses how the heavy burden of debt affects not just the returning person him/herself, but their families as well. Click here for the overview and the publication "When All Else Fails, Fining the Family: First Person Accounts of Criminal Justice Debt".

CCA announces the release of its latest publication, "Boxed Out: Criminal History Screening and College Application Attrition". This report builds upon our 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.



Prelude to Prison is a newly published book by CCA's Executive Director, Marsha Weissman, Ph.D., which gives voice to young people effected by the school to prison pipeline. Prelude to Prison is available through the Syracuse University Press.





"When All Else Fails, Fining the Family," was covered in an article by Joseph Shapiro, in NPR's online publication The Two-Way: Breaking News From NPR.

CCA provides early interventions for young people involved in the juvenile justice system. New York State is one of only two states in which the age of criminal majority is 16. CCA's recommendations. The short video by Brave New Foundation describes the ramifications of this important issue and features CCA's work.