For Immediate Release: Anti-Recidivism Organization GOSO Commends Speaker, City Council on Passage of Important Criminal Justice Reforms

Anti-Recidivism Organization GOSO (Getting Out and Staying Out) Commends Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Council on Passage of Important Criminal Justice Reforms

Reforms offer fairer punishments, will help restore justice to young people whose lives can be derailed by criminal charges for minor offenses

NEW YORK, NY–Wednesday, May 25, 2016–East Harlem anti-recidivism organization Getting out and Staying Out praised Speaker Mark-Viverito for spearheading a package of criminal justice legislation that passed the New York City Council today by a vast majority. Known as the Criminal Justice Reform Act, the eight bills lower penalties for minor, non-violent offenses such as having an open container of alcohol in public or littering, downgrading these offenses to civil penalties rather than criminal offenses, which can result in permanent criminal records.

“Thank you to Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the City Council for helping to ensure that NYC residents are not punished disproportionately for minor offenses,” said Mark Goldsmith, co-founder and president of Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO), the East Harlem-based nonprofit working to reduce recidivism among young men ages 16 to 24 years old. “The thousands of youth we see at GOSO are able to reshape their futures because we give them access to education and the skills for meaningful employment. Too many times though, we see the lives of young people who are trying to improve their situations derailed by a minor offense that leads to a criminal record. These important reforms will help give more young people access to tools out of the criminal justice system rather than arrests and jail time.”

GOSO helps young men throughout New York City avoid re-involvement in the criminal justice system by reshaping their futures through educational achievement, meaningful employment, and financial independence. GOSO focuses on individuals’ capacities and strengths, as well as developmental needs and emotional well-being. Their aim is to promote participants’ personal, professional, and intellectual growth by providing goal-oriented programming and comprehensive supportive social services. GOSO has developed a program unlike any other—GOSO has retained a recidivism rate of 10 percent, far lower that New York City, State and Federal rates for the formerly incarcerated. They join forces with community partners like Legal Aid, Neighborhood Defenders, as well as agencies including the Department of Probation, Department of Education, as well as the Department of Corrections. Through these partnerships GOSO has served over 3,000 young men both inside Rikers and in the communities by connecting them with essential educational and job training opportunities. They also partner with businesses throughout the city to provide meaningful paid internships and job opportunities for young men.

Maya Kremen / Kelly Ferraro
Geto & de Milly, Inc. / (212) 686-4551 |