Below is the Harlem Justice Center for Women petition. Please also sign the citywide #BEYONDrosies petition.
Dear Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams, State Senator Cleare and Council Member Richardson Jordan,
As a Harlem resident, I support transforming Lincoln Correctional Facility into a Women’s Center for Justice for women and gender-expansive people at Rikers Island. The state can transfer the facility to the city to operate as a new model of justice and community safety.
Harlem has been a center of the civil rights movement, and has also suffered the racial injustice of mass incarceration. Black women are the majority of those at the Rose M. Singer jail (Rosie’s) on Rikers Island, and most are charged in Manhattan. These mothers, daughters, and sisters are the heart of families and neighborhoods, but have often been treated as an afterthought.
The city’s current plan to close Rikers would place them in a Queens facility that is connected to a men’s jail opening in 2027. This threatens to replicate harmful conditions at Rosie’s that led to high rates of sexual assault and long commute times for family visitation.
Transforming Lincoln into a Women’s Center for Justice would make Harlem a leader on a new approach that serves justice-impacted families and the surrounding community. Non-profits could operate the secured facility with a “reentry upon entry” model focused on trauma-informed care, family unification and skills building. The Department of Corrections presence could be limited to securing the perimeters.
The Lincoln site--one of the few NYC locations zoned for a correctional facility--could have a refurbished exterior, provide spaces for community use, and offer services that break the cycle of incarceration. The Women's Center for Justice would be a good neighbor. Lincoln operated as a state correctional facility for decades until its closure in 2019. Using the site for the small population of women and gender people would avoid concerns associated with other types of development, such as noise, congestion, and infrastructure strain.
As my elected representatives in Harlem, I urge you to work together to secure the Lincoln Correctional Facility for a Women’s Center for Justice. This can be a new chapter in Harlem’s legacy of leadership on civil rights and racial equity.