Beyond Rosie's

The Rose M. Singer Center, nicknamed Rosie’s, is the women’s jail on Rikers Island and is among the top-12 worst jails in the country. WCJA’s goal is to find a clear and quick path to close Rosie’s, and focus on these three core initiatives:

• REIMAGINE justice, dignity & safety for women
• REINVENT a smaller justice system for women
• REINVEST savings to strengthen communities

Visit our HERSTORIES page to hear how the justice system has affected several women’s lives through their personal stories.

ONE PATH FORWARD: Reduce population under 100 women by 2020 through DECARCERATION

Key recommendations for the decarceration of women, LGBTQI+ and gender non-conforming New Yorkers:

  • Enact bail reform, including abolishing money bail & other deterrants
  • Promote and expand decarceration by increasing funding for pre-arrest diversion programs, behavioral health treatment, and alternative to detention/incarceration programming
  • Eliminate pretrial detention on misdemeanors, nonviolent felonies, and lower level violent felonies
  • Restructure supervised release programs to include people facing higher level felonies
  • End the practice of “city year” sentences of one year or less and replace with cost-effective alternatives to incarceration and community service
  • Divert pregnant women to a specialized ATI/ATD program in the community

Resources needed to support decarceration:

  • Increase city funding to expand all diversion programs
  • Increase city funding for community-based health and behavioral health services and other critical services that support women and children
  • Improve access to Medicaid, SNAP, cash assistance and other benefits that make consistent connections to supportive services and treatment possible
  • Create permanent housing units & subsidies for women, women with children, and LGBTQI+ people to increase their safety and stability in the community.

Key recommendations to close Rosie’s (RMSC) by 2020 and develop a replacement women’s facility:

  • Commit to one Women-Only Service Enriched Secure Facility and Intake Center under 100 women
  • Trauma Informed Care & Gender Specific Services for Women, LGBTQI+, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers.
  • Located in Manhattan

Facility Plant:

  • Create small unit consisting of 6-8 private rooms with private bathrooms
  • Each unit includes a kitchen, dining area, laundry, living and study space with space for overnight stays with their children and family
  • Adequate space for counseling groups, educational and vocational programming, family meetings and spiritual guidance

Intake Center (which will be clean, welcoming, properly equipped and sensitively designed for women & girls with histories of physical/sexual abuse):

  • Limit the number of women confined to communal cells simultaneously
  • Bathrooms are outside of communal cells in a private & dignified space
  • Sufficient space allocated to health services to ensure timely attention and care
  • Clinic spaces are separate, private, clean & welcoming.

Healthcare & Maternity:

  • Create a women’s health, wellness clinic on-site
  • Ensure clinic spaces are separate, private, clean & welcoming
  • Allocate sufficient space for health services to ensure timely attention and care

Service Model:

  • Service Design: Trauma Informed & Evidenced Based Care
  • Operations: Use an RFP Process, convene an oversight committee led by women with lived experience to assist in selecting & monitoring a qualified community & social services provider
  • Operational Collaboration Between Non-profit Service Provider Experts, Dept. of Mental Health & DOCS
    • 60:30:10 power share between non-profits, Dept. of Mental Health and DOCS
    • Operational Management: Non-profit operated by experienced organizations in conjunction with Dept. of Mental Health, and DOCS
    • Staffing: All nonprofit and DOC staff trained to provide in trauma informed care and gender responsive services; stable and choose to work in the facility

For more information, contact:

Rita Zimmer at ritaz@womenscommunityjustice.org or 646-790-3160
Sharon White-Harrigan
at sharon@wcja.org or 646.515.4808