315 Linwood Street, Brooklyn, NY 11208 sharon@wcja.org

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:

IMAGINE justice, dignity & safety for women
INVENT a smaller justice system for women
INVEST savings to strengthen communities

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

ONE PATH FORWARD: Reduce population under 100 women through DECARCERATION

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

  • Close the Rose M. Singer Center now, not in 2027.
  • Promote and expand decarceration by increasing funding for pre-arrest diversion programs, behavioral health treatment, and alternative to detention/incarceration programming.
  • Community reinvestments: expand critical community-based services and resources.
  • 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.
  • Affordable housing development: all people should have access to sustainable and affordable housing.

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) and develop a trauma-responsive 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
    • 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 646.546.8591