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NYC Program Helps Former Prisoners Realize Their Dream

A vast majority of prisoners dream of getting out of prison and staying out. They talk about it, and most plan for it. A program in New York City called “Getting Out and Staying Out,” or “GOSO” for short, helps former prisoners do exactly that.

GOSO assists them with obtaining employment. 

Geoffrey Goliath, associate executive director of GOSO, says when a company employs a person through GOSO, the first 240 hours of work are paid for by GOSO. 

Once the former prisoners complete that internship period, they are either hired or let go by the companies in which they have been placed. 

Goliath said about 70 percent of GOSO’s placements get full-time jobs at the same pay rate as everyone else.

Oliver and Leo Kremer own Dos Toros, a restaurant chain with 20 locations that participates in GOSO. Michael Van Leuvan, one of their employees hired through GOSO, is an example. He was 15 when he was sent away for drugs. Van Leuvan said his time in prison began with a gang and that he returned multiple times after being released. 

Now, at age 31, he has a wife and three kids and is thrilled to be earning $20 an hour managing one of the restaurants. “Honestly, it’s been a total win,” says Leo, who started using GOSO four years ago. “In our experience, everyone we work with from GOSO is really committed to doing a great job.” 



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