New program allows low-level offenders to take up art program, avoid court visits

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A new criminal justice reform program has some low-level offenders trading in court visits and handcuffs for museum trips and paintbrushes.

Officials announced Wednesday that first-time offenders for 20 different low-level misdemeanors like trespassing and graffiti are eligible for Project Reset.

As an alternative to prosecution, eligible offenders complete a free two-hour class at one of several facilities in the borough, like the Brooklyn Museum.

Participants not only tour the museum, they even pick up paintbrushes to create their own art work and discuss what they've seen.

After completing the course, cases are dismissed and records are sealed without a single court appearance.

Originally tested in 2015, the program is finally up and running in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with plans set for other boroughs to follow soon. Citywide costs run close to $4 million.

 

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