Rainey calls for release of vulnerable populations, no rollbacks on bail reform, no prosecution of minor offenses and release of those charged with technical parole and probation violations
NEW YORK, NEW YORK—Monday, March 23, 2020—Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO), GOSO is in direct touch with families of individuals vulnerable to COVID-19 who are incarcerated and is extremely concerned about this population remaining in jails where it is impossible to practice social distancing. As an organization that continues to provide direct support to incarcerated and court-involved people, GOSO calls for officials to release these individuals right away, to maintain State bail reform measures and to institute other measures aimed at reducing not increasing jail populations.
People who are incarcerated in our jails right now face a life-threatening risk,” said GOSO President and CEO Jocelynne Rainey. “Our jails are crowded, hazardous, unclean breeding grounds for COVID-19. We should not be incarcerating people, disrupting communities and families and causing trauma because they cannot afford bail. GOSO calls on Governor Cuomo and state legislators not to reinstitute a damaging cash bail policy that disproportionately punishes people in poverty and people of color before they have access to a fair trial: there must be no rollbacks on bail reform. We must also make sure that all people who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 are released from jail and that our justice system is using all measures possible, including refraining from prosecuting people charged with low-level offenses and releasing people with technical violations of probation and parole, to reduce the danger to human lives.”
About Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO):
GOSO is a reentry, youth and career development nonprofit organization that serves approximately 1,000 justice-involved young men, aged 16 to 24, citywide. GOSO’s goal is to help participants achieve their employment and educational goals, while avoiding further involvement in the criminal justice system. By providing access to education and vocational training, employment, and individual and group counselling since 2004, GOSO has helped thousands of young men gain financial independence and become contributing members of their communities. GOSOWorks, a wage-subsidy program, connects GOSO participants to employment opportunities with local businesses around New York City. Utilizing funding from the City of New York, GOSO screens, interviews, and places participants who have completed the Two-Week Job Readiness Curriculum in internship-to-employment (I2E) opportunities. A GOSOWorks internship is often the first employment experience for many participants, and it helps them use and develop the personal and professional skills needed to succeed in life. 70 percent of young people who complete internships through GOSOWorks attain employment.
GOSO provides additional programing for participants, including vocational training, High School Equivalency classes, Peer Navigator opportunities and runs Stand Against Violence East Harlem (SAVE), an anti-gun violence program guided by the principles of Cure Violence, which leverages the experiences of members of the community to do outreach, including people who have been directly affected by gun violence. SAVE outreach workers and violence interrupters are trained to mediate conflicts on the street and work to de-escalate disputes before crisis or violence erupts. SAVE connects individuals to extensive networks that provide job training, employment opportunities, mental health services, and legal services that lead to long-term violence reduction. For more information, visit www.gosonyc.org.