Leader of leading reentry organization for criminal justice-involved young men commends progress in moving toward a more humane and results-oriented justice system
NEW YORK CITY—”Keeping children out of adult prison is an important and extremely long overdue measure in New York State and we are glad that the state is taking crucial steps to address this,” said Mark Goldsmith, Co-Founder and President, Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO). “GOSO has worked for 14 years to help young people in Rikers and the community to turn their lives around, and it is clear that incarcerating 16-18 year olds does far more damage than good. We must allow young people to access the intensive counseling, job readiness training and education services they need to level the playing field and help them build brighter futures. Raising the age will reduce re-involvement in the criminal justice system, save taxpayer money and help the young people we see every day at GOSO to better their lives. While we must continue to push to broaden reforms even more to ensure that no juveniles are charged, tried, convicted and incarcerated as adults, this legislation will mean better outcomes for thousands of children, thanks to Governor Cuomo, the state legislature, and the incredible coalition of advocates who worked so hard to make this important reform a reality.”
Supportive work with young men aged 16-24 who are involved in the criminal justice system has been at the heart of GETTING OUT AND STAYING OUT’s mission for 14 years. GOSO provides intensive counseling, job readiness training and robust educational programming to young men in prisons and jails, including Rikers Island, and providing a path to career opportunity after release. GOSO is at Rikers 4 days a week, and works extensively with the 16-18-year old population both inside Rikers and upon release.
According to Sarah http://buysoma.net Blanco, LCSW, GOSO’s Director of Programming, “Charging, detaining, and incarcerating 16- and 17-year-olds is inhumane and rips adolescents from their families and schools, exposing them to an environment where they live in a constant state of fear and hypervigilance from emotional and physical violence. Diverting adolescents into programs like ours can help these young people achieve personal and educational success, and reduce recidivism rates for this age group at a much lower cost to taxpayers and without the severely damaging consequences to young lives. We commend Governor Cuomo and our State Legislature for making important strides toward raising the age of criminal responsibility for all juveniles and keeping children out of adult jail.”
About Getting Out and Staying Out:
Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO) is a leading East Harlem-based anti-recidivism organization that empowers young men throughout New York City, helping them reshaping their futures through educational achievement, meaningful employment, and financial independence. Founded by retired executive Mark L. Goldsmith in 2003, GOSO started with a simple idea: bringing licensed social workers and successful professional mentors to Rikers Island to coach young men, giving them practical tools to build productive futures, and continuing to coach and support them after release. GOSO has established itself as one of the most effective reentry programs in the New York City area for justice-involved 16 to 24-year-old men.
Just over 10% of GOSO’s participants return to incarceration, compared to a national rate of 50% for men in this age group. The DOC has consistently extended GOSO’s access to Rikers Island and GOSO social workers and mentors to continue to provide support to participants who have been sentenced to upstate facilities. The nonprofit’s GOSOWorks program partners with more than 50 employment partners to achieve its mission of providing young men with opportunities to launch careers, while promoting personal, professional and intellectual growth through personalized, goal-oriented programming. For more information about the organization and the programs available, visit GOSO at www.gosonyc.org.