Glenn Martin is a former inmate and criminal justice reform advocate calls mayor Bill de Blasio to have Rikers Island closed
If you’ve been tuning into Spike’s TIME: The Kalief Browder Story—a docuseries produced by Harvey Weinstein and Jay Z about a Bronx teen who spent three years at Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack—then you’ve had a glimpse into the horrific conditions at the correctional facility. Glenn Martin, a former Rikers inmate and advocate for criminal justice reform, has continually made the effort to have Rikers Island closed, reports the Huffington Post.
After being invited to attend the mayor’s inauguration in 2014 and hearing him speak of New York’s “tale of two cities” ― in reference to the socioeconomic gap among the city’s residents ― Martin was inspired to make an appointment with the mayor to share his vision of closing Rikers. But when Martin approached de Blasio about the issue, he said the mayor pretty much dismissed him.
That year, Martin founded JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to cutting the prison population in half by 2030.
The org also initiated the #CLOSErikers campaign in 2016. The campaign is one of few grass-roots movements fully devoted to closing the prison and remedying the damage it has caused innumerable New Yorkers, including Browder. Martin said #CLOSErikers is focused on capturing the attention of the one person with the power to close the prison: de Blasio.
Martin says that even if Rikers Island is shut down, he will continue to fight for the families that the facility has affected.