STATEMENT FROM GLENN E. MARTIN, JUSTLEADERSHIPUSA and GABRIEL SAYEGH, KATAL CENTER FOR HEALTH, EQUITY, AND JUSTICE ON RELEASE OF REPORT FROM THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSION ON NEW YORK CITY CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND INCARCERATION REFORM
Sunday, April 2, 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 the release of the report from the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform.
Glenn E. Martin, President and Founder of JustLeadershipUSA and member of the Commission said, “The report from the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform provides the evidence and comprehensive roadmap for doing what our #CLOSErikers campaign has been advocating over the past year: shuttering the notorious penal colony. I am honored to have served alongside Judge Lippman and the other Commissioners who were steadfast in their resolve drill down to the truth about Rikers. As a Commissioner who served time on Rikers, seeing this process culminate in a recommendation to close the failed institution is deeply gratifying. I also want to thank New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her vision as one of the early public supporters of closing Rikers and her call to create the Commission last year. Through relentless organizing and advocacy, our #CLOSErikers campaign was able to turn what many thought was a pipe dream into a reality when Mayor de Blasio announced on Friday that he would begin the process of closing Rikers. The Commission played a pivotal role in that paradigm shift, and today our City – and in fact our nation – is on a path toward justice for all.”
“Rikers Island will close. What took so long? Getting Out and Staying Out is glad to see this important progress. Rikers Island costs far more to operate than other jails in the U.S., and it churns out tragedy and trauma. We look forward to continuing to work with the #CLOSErikers campaign to make this commitment a reality.” – Mark Goldsmith, Executive Director, Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO)
gabriel sayegh, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice said, “The report from the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform recommends what many said couldn’t be done: closing Rikers Island once and for all. Their conclusion validates the call of thousands who have been harmed by Rikers and supported the #CLOSErikers campaign. We are grateful to New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her inspired call to create the Commission, and to Judge Lippman for his leadership in assembling and shepherding a team of dedicated Commissioners. The tireless advocacy of the organizers, partner organizations, members, and supporters of the #CLOSErikers campaign ensured that the Commission heard the voices and stories of people who had been directly harmed by Rikers. To see their reality reflected in the Commission’s recommendation to shut down the nation’s most notorious penal colony, and in Mayor de Blasio’s recent commitment to do just that, is something we can all take pride in. New York is living out its values of fairness, equity, and justice, and the rest of the world is watching.”
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 135 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
CONTACT: Jennifer Fermino, email@example.com or 646.734.0320