NEW YORK – Stanley Richards extended confronted the label of “formerly incarcerated human being.”
For a long time, he’s also worked to support other folks return household from jails and prisons. He is served on an oversight board for New York City’s jail process, and the Obama administration named him a “winner of adjust.”
“None of us are the worst things that we’ve ever accomplished,” Richards stated.
Richards is the initial human being on the senior staff members of the city’s Division of Correction who was previously incarcerated in its jails. As to start with deputy commissioner, Richards will oversee programs and functions at a crucial time as the town moves towards closing the Rikers Island.
In an job interview with United states of america These days on Tuesday, Richards claimed he was psyched to get to work on partaking the two correction officers and the jail’s inhabitants. He sees all his do the job as portion of the bigger plan to near Rikers.
“I am, by my mother nature, very hopeful. But I am not naïve. I know this is going to be a large endeavor,” he explained. “I liken it to turning a cruise ship in the middle of the Hudson. It is going to just take a quantity of turns, and you have to just take your time. But even so, I’m enthusiastic to be primary this exertion as to start with deputy commissioner for applications and operations.”
A Bronx native, Richards put in two and a half years on Rikers in the 1980s before serving 4 and a 50 percent yrs of a nine-year prison sentence. For the duration of his time in the prison justice procedure, he reported, he in no way imagined he’d lwork in the Department of Correction.
“The circumstances in which we live – projects, poverty – those are true, those ordeals are serious. They’re distressing, but they don’t define who you are,” he explained.
The town plans to close Rikers by 2027 and open smaller jails in the boroughs. Wednesday, the Department of Correction arms command of a facility in which Richards was housed on the island to the Office of Citywide Administrative Providers.
In his new job, Richards will oversee the jail system’s packages for incarcerated men and women, working day-to day functions, an assistance application for correctional personnel and their families and the borough-centered jail initiative.
In a statement, Mayor Invoice de Blasio said Richards has been “at the forefront of felony justice reform for a long time.”
“His lived experience helps make him uniquely qualified to remodel our jails and produce a program that focuses on rehabilitation. I’m self-confident that he will shift us ahead in our operate to produce a jail program that is lesser, safer and far more humane,” he explained.
Richards’ appointment comes as the city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, crime has spiked and a new mayor will take place of work in less than a year. Changes to point out bail guidelines have stirred controversy.
Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi, who took about as the department’s head in June, told United states of america Today that part of Richards’ perform will be rebooting Rikers’ programs and in-human being visits that were being shut down in the course of the pandemic.
Schiraldi expects Richards to continue his get the job done specializing in reentry packages. Richards is govt vice president of the Fortune Culture, a New York Town nonprofit team centered on services for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals as they return dwelling.
About two-thirds of folks housed in Rikers return dwelling when they are released, rather than remaining transferred to point out prison, Schiraldi reported.
“For us, we need to have a pretty severe flow, a extremely major handoff among what goes on inside of and what goes on outside,” he stated. “So we want Stanley and his team to make absolutely sure that we’re accomplishing the varieties of factors inside that will support folks reacclimate when they get out.”
Richards commenced doing the job at the Fortune Modern society in 1991. He served as deputy director of customer intervention at the Hunter Higher education Center on AIDS, Drugs and Local community Health but returned to the Fortune Culture, mounting to the group’s senior management.
He was part of de Blasio’s endeavor pressure that crafted a plan to close Rikers. He was the 1st formerly incarcerated person to provide on the Board of Correction, an oversight system for the Division of Correction.
In 2014, Richards’ perform earned him acknowledgment from President Barack Obama as a “winner of alter” for reentry and employment.
“When I came home from prison, the only detail I required to do was to enable people today see that they could be one thing distinctive,” Richards stated.
Schiraldi pointed out that Richards earning history in the section does not define him.
“Like anyone else, when formerly incarcerated people now begin to break barriers, way too often they’ll get outlined by remaining formerly incarcerated folks,” Schiraldi reported. “He’s not just very good for a formerly incarcerated person. He is just fantastic.”
Stick to United states Present-day Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller