News 05.22.20

New York State Congressional Delegation Urges Governor to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 in Prisons

Congress members sent a letter to the Governor outlining necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.

By Innocence Staff

Today, the New York State Congressional delegation sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to take action to protect those who are incarcerated and working in New York jails and prisons from the spread of COVID-19. U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), Eliot Engel (NY-16), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Grace Meng (NY-06), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Jose Serrano (NY-15), Nydia Velazquez (NY-07), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Thomas Suozzi (NY-03), Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) and Paul Tonko (NY-20) signed on to the letter, urging more prison releases and outlining the necessary measures that are recommended by public health experts in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in our correctional facilities and surrounding communities and prevent countless more deaths. The Innocence Project is a member of a coalition of 21 organizations that stands with the New York delegation and their recommendations to Governor Cuomo. 

The following statement on today’s congressional letter can be attributed to Rebecca Brown, Director of Policy at the Innocence Project:

“We are incredibly grateful to members of the New York Congressional delegation who are fighting to reduce the terrible impact of COVID-19 on incarcerated people – disproportionately Black and Latinx –  in New York’s jails and prisons. So far, we have yet to see all of the necessary steps taken to protect and save lives in these facilities, which have minimal safety standards and protective masks available. By voicing support for incarcerated people as well as staff and correctional officers, our federal elected officials are pushing to avoid more catastrophic outcomes as a result of the rapid spread in COVID-19 in prisons throughout our state. We urge the Governor to take more expansive action in releasing people from prison to avoid unnecessary disease and death among incarcerated New Yorkers, facility staff, and correctional officers. We applaud members of the New York Congressional delegation who are speaking up and are proud to stand with them.” 

The 21 organizations of the coalition include: 

Innocence Project

The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights

Color of Change

Legal Action Center

National Action Network

Justice Collaborative

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Drug Policy Alliance

Vera Institute of Justice

Worth Rises

New York Civil Liberties Union

Release Aging People in Prison

Parole Preparation Project

New York Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Office of the Appellate Defender, Inc. 

Citizen Action of New York

Bronx Defenders

Brooklyn Defender Services

Legal Aid Society

JustLeadershipUSA

Correctional Association of New York

 

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