The SDNY Young Adult Opportunity Program (the “Program”) is an intensive judicially supervised pretrial program for non-violent young adults charged in this District. The Program is run through the Court's Pretrial Services Office and is overseen by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams and U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn. The Program provides young adult defendants with structure and accountability and offers education and employment support, counseling, and treatment resources. Program participants, if they are successful, may receive a shorter sentence, a reduction or deferral of the charges filed against them, or possibly a dismissal of the charges entirely.

The Program is intended to benefit non-violent young adults (18-25 years old). Defendants over 25 years old may be considered for participation on a case-by-case basis, and consideration will be given if a defendant is alleged to have engaged in the charged offenses within the age range.

Participation in the Program is entirely voluntarily. If accepted, the participant must execute an agreement setting forth the obligations and expectations of Program participation, consent to the transfer of their criminal case to one of the Program Judges and agree to an exclusion of time under the Speedy Trial Act for the duration of the participation.

Participants who are interested in the Program must apply to the Pretrial Office. As a general matter, candidates with a history of violence or sex offenses will be ineligible; however, exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis. Most candidates apply to the Program within 60 days of their arrest and are expected to complete the Program within 12 to 18 months. The decision whether to accept a candidate is made by the Program Judges, in consultation with the Pretrial Office, defense counsel and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Counsel for eligible defendants who wish to participate in the Program should submit a letter of interest to the Program Pretrial Officer at opportunitycourt@nyspt.uscourts.gov. The letter should be no more than three pages in length and include the following information:

  • The Defendant's name, current age, and age at the time of the alleged offense;
  • The Defendant's case number and the nature of all pending charges (both in this District and elsewhere), including the charging statutes;
  • The Defendant's criminal history;
  • A summary of any drug abuse or addiction, or any mental health issues;
  • A summary of the Defendant's relevant family, educational, and employment history; and
  • Any other information that counsel feels is relevant to the Defendant's eligibility including any goals the Defendant hopes to achieve through the Program.

Any questions regarding the Program or the eligibility of a particular defendant should be directed to the Program Pretrial Officer at opportunitycourt@nyspt.uscourts.gov.

2022 Deadlines:

Candidates who apply by October 29, 2021, will receive a decision no later than December 23, 2021. Should the applicant be accepted, the first session will be on January 4, 2022.

Candidates who apply by January 28, 2022, will receive a decision no later than March 25, 2022. Should the applicant be accepted, the first session will be on April 5, 2022.

Candidates who apply by April 29, 2022, will receive a decision no later than June 24, 2022. Should the applicant be accepted, the first session will be on July 12, 2022.

Candidates who apply by July 29, 2022, will receive a decision no later than September 23, 2022. Should the applicant be accepted, the first session will be on October 11, 2022.