You are reading

Board of Correction Calls for the Release of Inmates, Aims to Prevent Transmission of Coronavirus

Rikers Island (wiki commons)

March 17, 2020 By Christian Murray 

The New York City Board of Correction is calling on New York City to release prisoners deemed at high risk from the COVID-19 virus.

The board says that it should reduce the prison population by identifying and potentially releasing people over the age of 50; those with underlying health conditions; people detained for administrative reasons—such as parole violations; and people serving sentences less than one year.

The board–established by the city’s charter to provide independent oversight to ensure more humane jails–says the administration must reduce the prison population and limit new admissions unless there are exceptional circumstances.

It says city jails have difficulty preventing disease transmission on normal days let alone during a public health crisis.

“The city can follow the leads of Los Angeles County and Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which have already begun to release people to minimize a potential outbreak,” the board said in a statement. “The city must begin this process now. The city’s jails have particular challenges to preventing disease transmission on a normal day and even more so during a public health crisis.”

The board is urging the city to work with District Attorneys, the Defense Bar and the judiciary to identify all detained New Yorkers who can be released. It also calls on the Department of Correction and Correctional Health Services to provide COVID-19 screenings.

The idea was ridiculed by the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.

“It’s very sad that we have to remind the Board of Correction that their mandate, per the city’s Charter, is to advocate for the welfare of everyone in the Correction Department, not just inmates,” said Elias Husamudeen, the organization’s president, in a statement.

“Their latest asinine proposal to start letting inmates out of jail who are ‘high risk’ to this virus—regardless of their risk to public safety is beyond irresponsible,” Husamudeen said. “Instead of recklessly letting inmates out, call for the city to ramp up its efforts to bring in more masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and other vital supplies for the men and women who must also put their health at risk by showing up to work every day, providing care, custody, and control.”

The Mayor’s office told the Daily News that it is concerned about the welfare of inmates and workers.

“As the situation continues to evolve, we are having hour-by-hour conversations regarding what is best for the health and safety of those in our care, and will have more to say soon,” a spokesperson told the publication.

email the author: [email protected]

5 Comments

Click for Comments 
Reggie

If the head of the Correction Officer’s union calls this proposal ‘asinine’, then I’m going to have to believe him. C.O’s have one of the toughest jobs in the city. They see awful things on a regular basis that the average person can’t even fathom. I’ll take the union’s word over the De Balsio administration’s — specifically on stuff liks this — any day of the week.

Reply
NY trully

So, people in a cruise is forbidden to leave it even without symptoms and a criminal should be free because public safety is a joke.

10
Reply
Guest

How do inmates catch coronavirus if they were locked up? No, do not release criminals.

10
Reply
Cicero

Why not simply provide them protective gear, fresh air and sun… Not run around the general public! HAVE THESE POLITICIANS LOST THEIR MINDS!? They lost my vote, that’s for sure.

21
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Raga sworn in as first-ever Filipino American elected to the state Legislature

More than 300 community members attended the historic inauguration of Assemblyman Steven Raga as the first Filipino American elected to office in New York state.

Many who attended the swearing-in event at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park wore traditional and cultural attire to the event at the building that once housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations from 1946-50 until its current home in Manhattan became available for the world body.