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


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

Demands of the #BEYONDrosies Campaign:

– Close the Rose M. Singer Center by the end of 2022.
– Decarcerate the female and gender expansive population to below 100.
– Expand city investments in Alternative to Detention (ATD) programs.
– Encourage Judges to expand use of the Supervised Release program.
– Restrict DOC’s involvement in the new borough based facilities.
– Invest in affordable permanent housing.

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 by the end of 2022, not in 2027 as planned.
  • Community reinvestments: expand critical community-based services and resources.
  • Restructure supervised release programs to include people facing higher level felonies.
  • Promote and expand decarceration by increasing funding for pre-arrest diversion programs, behavioral health treatment, and alternative to detention/incarceration programming.
  • 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.

When a woman is incarcerated her whole community feels the impact from her children to her employer. Simply put, people do better and are more stable in their life when they have housing and their needs met. If a woman must be detained, it should be in a trauma informed, trauma responsive, gender specific facility that seeks to heal and support instead of harm and punish.

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

Our campaign is guided by our insistence that the fight to expose and confront criminal “injustice” system inequities for women, transgender and gender expansive individuals must be led by those with lived experience; they must be the decision makers, the organizers and advocates and hold others accountable at every level. We are guided by the ethos that those closest to the problem are closest to the solutions!

For more information, contact:

Rita Zimmer, President, at ritaz@womenscommunityjustice.org or 646-790-3160
Sharon White-Harrigan, Executive Director, at sharon@wcja.org or 646.546.8591
Jordyn Rosenthal, Director of Community Engagement, at jordyn@wcja.org