Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO) empowers young men to avoid involvement in the criminal justice system by reshaping their futures through educational achievement, meaningful employment, and financial independence. GOSO focuses on the individuals’ capacities and strengths, as well as developmental needs and emotional well-being. Our aim is to promote personal, professional, and intellectual growth through goal-oriented programming and comprehensive social support services.
GOSO has established itself as one of the most effective reentry programs in the New York City area for justice-involved 16 to 24 year old men. Fewer than 15% of GOSO participants return to jail, as compared to a national average of 67% for the age group. Over the past ten years we’ve proven that early intervention within the criminal justice system, along with supportive counseling, educational support, vocational training, and workforce development works to reduce recidivism and help our participants become contributing members of their communities.
Preventing Justice Involvement
GOSO has also become a leader in preventing justice-involvement by collaborating with community partners, public defenders, and the courts to identify at-risk individuals who have had contact with the criminal justice system. Our programming and targeted interventions divert young men from entering the justice system and prevent continuing involvement with that system.
Reducing recidivism and preventing justice-involvement are important goals, but what sets GOSO apart is the agency’s commitment to radically reshaping our young men’s lives through our holistic approach to reentry, job readiness, and youth development. GOSO’s clinically-trained staff provide individual and group counseling, as well as coaching and advocacy to inspire our participants and assist them in changing the trajectory of their lives.
86% of GOSO Participants Stay Out of Prison or Jail
93% of GOSO Clients Who Begin a Vocational Training Complete It
71% of GOSO Participants are Engaged in Work and/or School
Over the past eight years, GOSO participants have earned degrees or certificates from leading colleges and universities; many others have earned their high school diplomas or GEDs and are currently enrolled in colleges and vocational programs throughout the city. Most are also employed. They have defined their goals for the future and are now on course to achieve them. That is our primary measure of success.
But we recognize that it’s not enough for us to believe we are succeeding in our work. We have to be able to demonstrate it. We have developed effective ways to monitor and measure our results, not only for reporting to our funders, but as a means of building and adjusting our programs to meet the needs of the young men we serve. We utilize the Social Solutions Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) database system which was designed specifically as a tool for social service organizations. Through it we are able to create detailed profiles of our participants, monitor their achievements, and track their participation in our different program services. As we continue that process we gain new and valuable insights into the impacts of our efforts that help us to improve our program and more effectively utilize our resources.
GOSO has established itself as one of the most effective reentry programs in the NYC area for 16 to 24 year-old men at Rikers Island. Fewer than 15% of GOSO participants return to jail, as compared to a national average of 67% for their age group. Over the past ten years we’ve proven that early intervention within the prison system, as well as supportive counseling, education and job readiness training once our participants have been released into the community works to reduce recidivism.
GOSO’S focus on drastically reducing recidivism rates has earned us a number of awards.
The Manhattan Institute’s Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2012)
Directed toward those with original ideas brought to fruition with predominantly private support. It recognizes individuals who have founded organizations effectively providing services addressing key social challenges: increasing opportunity for higher education for the disadvantaged; improving access to health care for those of low-income; helping the elderly “age in place”, not in institutions; providing vocational education for urban high school graduates lacking job skills; job placement and mentoring for newly-released prisoners. Download a pdf of the announcement of 2012 winners
Mutual of America Community Service Award (2010)
In recognition of our visionary partnerships with the Department of Education, the Department of Corrections, and City University of New York. Mutual of America Life Insurance Company created this national competition to highlight the important contributions that nonprofit organizations, in partnership with public, private and other social sector organizations, make to society. As part of the award, Mutual of America has created a moving video about GOSO that features interviews with current GOSO participants, alumni, staff and volunteers. Download a pdf of the press release
Purpose Prize (2008)
Co-founder Mark L. Goldsmith honored by Encore Careers for the success of GOSO as an innovative model of reentry services for young men who are incarcerated. The award is given to people over 60 for improving their communities and the world .Download a pdf of the press release
“Two out of three guys who come to Rikers Island, come back to Rikers Island. This must stop.”
—Mark L. Goldsmith, Co-Founder and President, GOSO.
In 2003 retired business executive, Mark L. Goldsmith, was invited to visit Horizon Academy at Rikers Island as a volunteer Principal for the Day. His discussions with young inmates at the school that day were so well received that the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Education (DOE) invited him to return to meet with the students on a regular basis. From that visit the idea of Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO) emerged. The idea was simple: bring successful people to Rikers Island to coach young men, giving them practical direction and tools to build productive lives in mainstream society; and continue to coach them when they return to their communities. In short, give them the tools to Get Out and then to Stay Out.
Mr. Goldsmith completed a course in mentor training at Fordham University and developed a lasting partnership with the DOE through Gloria Ortiz, the principal of Horizon Academy (East River Academy) whose school was then providing GED classes to the men Mr. Goldsmith coached. Once essential partnerships with the DOC and DOE were established, GOSO began a formal mentoring program on Rikers Island that focused on men aged 16 to 24 years old. Mr. Goldsmith continued to mentor GOSO participants once they were released, meeting with them at a local coffee shop until 2005, when he secured the funding to open a post-release community-based program in East Harlem. Since then, GOSO has established a reentry model that promotes education and vocational training, provides job readiness training and employment assistance, and offers supportive counseling and social services from the day of a participant’s incarceration until he is fully integrated into the community.
GOSO has established itself as a key player for young men at Rikers Island. Fewer than 15% of GOSO participants return to jail as compared to a national rate of 67% for men of that age group. In 2009, at the urging of the DOE and the DOC, GOSO expanded its services to 16- and 17-year-old men. The DOC has continued to extend GOSO’s access to inmates at Rikers Island and the NYS Department of Correctional Services has made it possible for GOSO staff and mentors to continue to correspond with and provide support to participants who have been sentenced to upstate facilities.