On September 14, 2017, GOSO co-founder and President Mark L. Goldsmith was invited to the White House’s 2017 “Summit on Reentry,” to speak about the GOSO model. Here, Mr. Goldsmith shares his notes from the day.
GOSO is pleased to have had the opportunity this week to present our organization’s successful approach and best practices at a White House summit on reentry services.
Creating a productive and positive path for people involved in our prison system is a critical national and bipartisan issue, and this presentation was made to a group of non-profit leaders, faith-based organizations, officials and members of the administration. I spoke about how GOSO’s formula — individualized counselling by trained, licensed social workers combined with rigorous job training and apprenticeships, emphasis on education as well as community building and cultural engagement — has resulted in impressive outcomes: 75 percent of interns placed in our “Internship to Employment” program get hired for a job, 71 percent who complete the job readiness curriculum are employed or in school and more than 85 percent of our clients stay out of prison.
I also spoke about the critical importance of partnering with government, as we have here in New York City with the administration and City Council as well as with businesses, corporations and nonprofit institutions that share our commitment to opening the door to a viable second chance for incarcerated and justice system involved young people and providing them with meaningful support while in school and through their early employment experiences.
I believe that New York City must have a voice in our national dialogue, and I was very glad to be there. This issue affects every income group and every community in our country. As I told the group in Washington, imprisoning more low-level offenders for longer is not an effective public safety strategy or a good use of our resources. Rather, we must increase access to high-level professional mentorship, licensed mental health support, education and access to job opportunities. Programs like GOSO prove that we can indeed reduce crime, improve communities and save taxpayer money over time if we focus on enabling young people seeking a second chance to reenter and positively contribute to the larger community.
I look forward to moving this agenda forward and continuing to participate in this important dialogue.
PHOTO: Mark L. Goldsmith at the 2017 White House “Summit on Reentry.”