by News12 Staff
A nonprofit organization is helping young men get out and stay out of the criminal justice system.
“At the time, I felt like there was no ever coming out of the situation because I had a long road ahead of me,” says Anthony, a former Rikers Island inmate.
Anthony met Mark Goldsmith, the founder of nonprofit Getting Out Staying Out (GOSO), at Rikers.
“I believe that everyone deserves a second chance, no matter who you are or where you come from,” says Anthony. “[GOSO] wants you to feel like your past is your past and you don’t want to come back from where you came from, and they make you want to do better, adjust your life to something positive.”
GOSO has staff at Rikers every day meeting with prisoners. They provide resources during incarceration, like helping Anthony get his GED.
“We think about their emotional well-being, education and employment,” says Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, the President and CEO for GOSO.
After Rikers and a few prison stays upstate, Anthony was released in 2017. He says that he stayed in touch with GOSO throughout it all.
“That was the best decision I ever made in my life,” he says. “I wouldn’t be here and I’m not just saying that, if it wasn’t for them.”
He says GOSO helped him create his own email address and a resume that ultimately helped him get a job.
“I wanted to give back to people that were formerly incarcerated,” he says. “Or people that didn’t really have much going for themselves.”
Now, he gives back at a homeless shelter.
“I want to be the ambassador for the people that can come back stronger than ever,” says Anthony.
GOSO says that those looking to get involved with the organization can inquire about volunteer opportunities. It’s also hosting a fundraising gala at the end of April.