STATEMENT FROM GLENN E. MARTIN, JUSTLEADERSHIPUSA and GABRIEL SAYEGH, KATAL CENTER FOR HEALTH, EQUITY, AND JUSTICE ON MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF REENTRY SERVICES FOR PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY JAILS

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 (New York, NY) – Glenn E. Martin, President and founder of JustLeadershipUSA, and gabriel sayegh, Co-founder and Co-Executive Director of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice are leaders in the #CLOSErikers campaign. They issued the following statements in response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement today that people in New York City jails will receive reentry services.

Glenn E. Martin, President and Founder of JustLeadershipUSA said, “An investment by NYC to repair the harm caused by exposure to Rikers Island is important. But this is a back-end solution to a front-end problem, exacerbated by Mayor de Blasio’s insistence on renovating ‘Torture Island.’ Progressive New Yorkers are pushing for the closure of Rikers because we know we must transform the whole system. The mayor should stop equivocating and join us.”

gabriel sayegh, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice said, “It’s important to provide reentry services to every person leaving NYC jails. But more investments in reentry and great reentry planning won’t solve NYCs most pressing criminal justice crisis: the notorious penal colony known as Rikers Island, and all it represents. It’s time to advance real change and make safety a priority for all New Yorkers. It’s time for the Mayor close Rikers Island.”

About the #CLOSErikers campaign:

The #CLOSErikers campaign was formed in 2016 to break the political gridlock and achieve real solutions that are guided by directly impacted communities. Led by JustLeadershipUSA, in partnership with other organizations, the #CLOSErikers campaign includes community groups, researchers, faith and human rights leaders, criminal justice experts, health and housing service providers, advocacy and legal groups and more. Through the campaign, over 130 diverse organizations across New York City have joined together to demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio close Rikers. By closing Rikers, New York City can focus on healing and rebuilding the communities where Rikers has brought suffering. The campaign to #CLOSErikers is calling for New Yorkers to boldly reimagine the city’s failed criminal justice system and become a national leader in ending mass incarceration. www.closerikers.org

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CONTACT: Emily NaPier, emily@justleadershipusa.org or 315.243.5135