September 23, 2023


Equality opinion

Authorized Support: Far more than 2,000 N.Y. prisoners have had COVID-19

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Authorized Assist Culture condemned Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Section of Correction and Local community Supervision (DOCCS) for failing to acquire vital ways to manage the unfold of the coronavirus (COVID-19) at prisons throughout New York.

Authorized Help alleges that 2,040 New Yorkers in DOCCS custody have tested positive for the coronavirus during the pandemic, in accordance to the agency.

Very last week, Authorized Assist produced an evaluation of DOCCS data, which the company said revealed that 14 various point out prisons noticed a important increase in positive COVID-19 situations in eight days, amongst Dec. 3 and Dec. 11. The raise totaled 142 new situations, which allegedly brings the DOCCS depend of incarcerated New Yorkers who have examined good for the virus to 2,040, according to Legal Assist.

Considering that the pandemic started, 18 people today in DOCCS’ custody have allegedly succumbed to the virus, in accordance to Lawful Aid.

On the other hand, in reaction to the Authorized Support promises, DOCCS spokesperson, Thomas Mailey, alleges the agency’s figures are completely wrong.

“To put Legal Aids’ ‘conclusion’ in context, as of Dec. 11, 2020, there are only 249 existing beneficial cases in DOCCS services, though 1,773 persons, or close to 88{dcfa4b42334872b3517041d7075c48816e8f617446b245cec30e8949517ffd84} of the variety they cite, have currently recovered given that the starting of this pandemic,” claimed Mailey.

DOCCS explained that all through the pandemic, the company has labored in session with the state Department of Health and fitness (DOH) to take a look at the total incarcerated population for COVID-19.

DOCCS claimed it is is continuing to partner with DOH as section of the New York Condition COVID-19 Vaccination Plan that was beforehand announced.


As a end result of the important maximize in COVID-19 infections at the Attica, Auburn and Cayuga Correctional Services, DOCCS stated visitation at the three services has been temporarily suspended until finally further more observe. Other safeguards include things like programs’ suspension and immediate testing for personnel.

“The incarcerated people continue to have obtain to their tablets, kiosks to mail safe messages and the telephones,” stated DOCCS.

Contacting FOR Release OF THE Susceptible

Authorized Support is calling on the condition to release susceptible prisoners.

“This shameful milestone was fully avoidable experienced Governor Cuomo and DOCCS heeded the calls from advocates, health-related experts and other specialists for rapid decarceration of medically susceptible persons,” explained Stefen Short, supervising legal professional with the Prisoners’ Legal rights Challenge at The Authorized Aid Culture.

“Absent significant intervention by Governor Cuomo or DOCCS, it is apparent that the circumstance will only worsen and that the implications will be even a lot more tragic,” reported Shorter. “The point out ought to act right away to release those people who are medically vulnerable. This move is essential to defend susceptible folks and to let those who continue being in custody to observe social distancing, the only measure that can stem the spread of the virus in DOCCS facilities.”

DOCCS countered that “every aspect of the state’s reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak has been guided by info, scientific data, and the direction of public health authorities at DOH and the CDC, and the get the job done of DOCCS to protect the security of New York’s corrections workers and incarcerated populace is no diverse. DOCCS is at the moment adhering to all DOH guidelines about congregate settings at each individual of its services.”


DOCCS has lately designed, in session with DOH, an asymptomatic surveillance testing approach that will allow for a quantity of incarcerated people today from each facility to be analyzed each weekday, from a number of housing units, in get to avert probable outbreaks and focus on resources to services and housing units identified as a potential issue, according to the company.


DOCCS reported they pursuing strategies are also in place:

  • The asymptomatic surveillance testing approach is in addition to testing individuals who display indications and people who are discovered as element of a call trace.
  • Incarcerated individuals displaying signs are immediately isolated and tested.
  • If a beneficial case is verified, a call trace is carried out and those discovered are quarantined and examined.
  • Any person who is COVID-19 good or in quarantine as section of a speak to trace is not allowed a go to.
  • In accordance with the Governor’s Govt Order and DOH steering, correction officers and other important correctional facility workers, absent any symptoms, can request to be tested by their individual physician, or at a person of the state’s testing web sites.

As of Dec. 11, 2020, the total incarcerated populace in state correctional services is 35,049, according to DOCCS.

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