PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2017

CONTACT: Tom Ochs (202) 309-0331| tom@justleadershipusa.org


GLENN E. MARTIN, FOUNDER OF JUSTLEADERSHIPUSA AND LEADER OF THE #CLOSERIKERS CAMPAIGN
, IS DUMBFOUNDED OVER MAYOR DE BLASIO’S APPOINTMENT OF CYNTHIA BRANN AS THE CITY’S NEXT CORRECTIONS COMMISSIONER

October 3, 2017 — Today, Glenn E. Martin, Founder and President of JustLeadershipUSA and leader of the #CLOSErikers Campaign, issued the following statement:

“In the long wait for Mayor Bill de Blasio to fill the position of New York City Corrections Commissioner, those of us who have been campaigning for closing Rikers and for the creation of a smaller, safer and more humane corrections system hoped for the appointment of someone who would be up to the task.  The Mayor’s selection of Cynthia Brann, a career corrections bureaucrat who worked for decades alongside the outgoing, scandal-tarred commissioner, Joseph Ponte, (and who was named in the Department of Investigations report as a high ranking official who also misused city-owned vehicles) suggests that the Mayor still fails to grasp the urgency of shuttering New York’s torture island.

De Blasio needed to pick someone outside of the Department of Corrections, someone willing to challenge the status quo and with the courage to say, “the old approach didn’t work, let’s try something else.”  Instead, he chose the Acting Commissioner, an insider who has spent the past several years trying to prop up a dying institution and placate the guard union.  Career corrections professionals in this country have risen through the ranks in a system that is overly reliant on incarceration as a solution to all societal problems, like mental health issues and income inequality. Can Brann think outside the box when her entire career had been built inside it?  There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that she will advance the Mayor’s alleged goal of closing Rikers. None.

The #CLOSErikers Campaign, with its 164 organizational members, is gearing up for a season of intense activity.  We are more determined than ever to reach our goal of closing what the Lippman Commission, upon which I sat, called “an international symbol of despair and damage,” and doing so as rapidly as possible.  The new Commissioner of Corrections is taking the reins at a critical juncture for our city, when we have an opportunity to dramatically reshape the department for the important years ahead.  I can only hope that my doubts about her capacity for transformative and disruptive leadership are unfounded, but I won’t hold my breath.”

 

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