Glenn Martin, the leading inmate advocate behind the charge to shut down Rikers Island, suddenly stepped down from the nonprofit organization he founded, the New York Daily News reports. The board of JustLeadershipUSA “reluctantly accepted” his resignation, the group said in a statement issued Thursday. Martin said he was unaware the organization released a statement announcing his departure and declined to discuss the matter further.
In the early 1990s, Martin was incarcerated for six years in a New York State prison. He repeatedly referred to that experience, and the horrors he experienced, during his calls for reform. While on Rikers Island, he was stabbed in the torso by another inmate during a minor dispute. He later joined The Fortune Society, an organization that helps former prisoners. The he broke away and founded JustLeadershipUSA. The group has taken off and become a national force for inmate reforms. On the day Mayor Bill de Blasio took the oath of office in 2014, Martin approached the mayor and urged him to shutter the scandal-scarred jails on the island. The mayor finally agreed after four years of lobbying and a blue-ribbon panel headed by former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman recommended closing the island in a report released in March. Martin has been a frequent contributor to The Crime Report.