GOSO meets or connects with participants in one of three ways.
We work closely with the Department of Corrections and our full time Coordinator of Reentry Services at Rikers Island to meet participants fitting our criteria and support them emotionally and through court advocacy while they are incarcerated.
Our impact on folks who are incarcerated can be a range! We advocate for release, less sentencing, or a mandated program. Sometimes, our efforts are extremely valuable and shave years of their sentence off, or sometimes, just the emotional support goes a long way.
Please note: GOSO is not a mandated Alternative to Incarceration program. Participants who come to GOSO choose to do so, unless there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. someone who has worked with GOSO before and wants to be mandated to our program instead of another program)
For some of our participants, their case may result in a prison sentence. These participants are moved to a correctional facility in upstate NY for the duration of their incarceration. GOSO continues to support these participants through sustained correspondence. The level of engagement ranges from birthday/holiday cards to frequent exchange of written letters. We aim to support our participants through consistent contact and advocacy where needed such as when someone is seeing the parole board or facing a crisis in their facility. By corresponding with our reentry staff, participants process their current situation and goals while also constructing a plan for after their release.
Our East Harlem HQ is really the “hub” of our program. We currently have two offices (75 East 116th St and 1400 5th Avenue) and are planning to move to one space in January 2021. SAVE’s office is down the street as well (91 East 116th St).
Our community program is a safe space for participants to work with their Career Managers, get food, receive both group and individual therapy, go to school, engage in volunteer workshops, and so on.
Many of our participants who are in the community program have been referred to GOSO through friends and family, judges, mentors, lawyers, parole or probation officers, and by word of mouth. A large amount of the participants in our community program met us while incarcerated, as we keep in touch with each individual during their entire sentence/bid.