Founded in 1979, Providence House has helped previously incarcerated ladies transition to society through housing assistance for forty years. It operates a 15-man or woman transitional housing facility in Brooklyn, located in a former convent. It is companions with other community agencies throughout four other transitional housing places, including one in Jamaica.
Danielle Minelli Pagnotta, who labored for over a decade at New York City’s Department of Homeless Services, took over because of the company’s government director in 2017. In addition to her function at Providence House, Pagnotta is likewise a Women’s Community Justice Project member and a Queens resident.
The Eagle spoke together with her about the campaign to close the Rose M. Singer Center — also called Rosie’s — at Rikers Island, wherein fewer than 500 girls are presently detained, the wishes of previously incarcerated women, and the way the ULURP technique for figuring out land use could affect girls currently housed at Rikers.
Disclaimer: This interview was conducted on Tuesday, June eleven, at the ULURP Public Hearing.
Eagle: Tell me a bit about housing women coming off of Rikers and why it’s essential to have supportive housing centers.
Danielle Minelli Pagnotta: We’ve been working with girls popping out of prison for a long term. We’ve located that the ladies coming off of Rikers have many complex needs, particularly mental fitness services and trauma. Women coming off of Rikers have been there for a shorter time and are still very related to their communities, so we paintings to sincerely join people right back to the one household. Our plan and we intend to interrupt the cycle of trauma that they experience once they’re on Rikers and from time to time in which they’re coming from.
Right now, we can take 15 girls in a transitional place and accomplish this type of court docket-mandated collaboration with other ATI [Alternatives to Incarceration] applications. We’re simply offering the housing. We see this as a crucial want. We don’t suppose that a person needs to sit on Rikers because they’re homeless and don’t have someplace to move, so we can offer that housing as they paint to transition lower back into the community.
What are some roadblocks for finalizing the Rosie’s, and how are you looking to recommend that Rosie’s be closed?
Historically, Providence House is a provider-based employer, and we have our fingers a touch bit in advocacy. However, we’ve virtually stepped into it a bit extra in the past few years. I suppose you may provide direct service, and that’s vital, but you may want to recognize the systemic demanding situations that your populations are facing.
We have wholeheartedly joined Beyond Rosie’s marketing campaign. We are advocating directly with the city — the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice — for a standalone facility for girls that the town has now decided to enforce. I think that’s a part of Beyond Rosie’s marketing campaign’s urging: we would like to look for a more fabulous centralized girls’ facility and are still trying to push for that. There are a couple of ability buildings inside the town. You’ve probably heard about the Lincoln Facility that the nation is ready to release, which we suppose could make for a fantastic setting for girls. But I assume in phrases of barriers at this point, it’s truely simply time and bringing up. Interestingly, that is a unique moment within the metropolis in which there’s a variety of strengths around criminal justice reform and getting people into community settings. And so I suppose a number of it is just going through the ULURP system that’s happening right now and getting those buildings approved.
I wanted to talk to you about the ULURP system and how it relates to Queens. The Borough President is going to be holding a forum on Thursday. What’s happening with that, and what’s the significance of this step of the ULURP method?
I turned into reality at the two network board meetings that addressed the same topic, and I plan to be there on Thursday. As a Queens resident, it’s vital to me to have the ability to say that I suppose community-based settings are so much more essential. Providence House is honestly targeted at households, and a lot of what occurs to human beings when they’re sent to Rikers is setting their distance from their families. If [the jail is] in Kew Gardens, it could take an entire day to get through the clearance to peer your loved one, and that point far from family, whether or not you’re a person or a girl, pretty frankly is adverse to someone’s life. They may want to lose jobs; they could lose connections to their children. So, I will be going to the one’s meetings to similarly endorse that community-primarily based jails are critical to maintaining people toward their houses. At the same time, they may not have been convicted, which can help preserve them tied to their groups.