Amidst Rising Death Toll, Advocates Slam New York State and City Leaders for Ineffective and Inhumane COVID-19 Response In Prisons and Jails

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2020
For more information contact: Melissa Mansfield | mmansfield@skdknick.com  

AMIDST RISING DEATH TOLL, ADVOCATES SLAM NEW YORK STATE AND CITY LEADERS FOR INEFFECTIVE AND INHUMANE COVID-19 RESPONSE IN PRISONS AND JAILS

***NYUJ CHIEF STRATEGIST KHALIL A. CUMBERBATCH AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS***

(New York, N.Y.) – New York’s Rikers Island jail is among the most COVID-19-infected workplaces in the entire nation. New Yorkers United for Justice Chief Strategist Khalil A. Cumberbatch once again calls on the state to immediately release a life-saving plan to reduce the prison population and stop the rising rate of infection. In a statement, Mr. Cumberbatch, a formerly incarcerated New Yorker, said:

“For more than a month, we have called on New York’s leaders to produce a plan that will address the spread of COVID-19 in prisons and jails across the state. Recent measures by Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio to release incarcerated individuals do not go far enough. And worse is the city’s attempt at a PR spin of the situation by conveniently releasing statistics the day before as they likely knew of a damning WSJ story exposing the humanitarian crisis that underscores the tragic rate of infection and the death toll in our prisons and jails.

“State and local officials must immediately act to safeguard local jail populations – the lives of incarcerated individuals, corrections officers, and staff, and vendors and by extension our communities are in grave danger.

“Turning our backs on the prison and jail populations is negligent and inhumane as this pandemic is poised to sweep through facilities and then into the communities of the facilities’ workers. We have already lost significant time to protect the prison and jail populations from this pandemic and urge our state leaders to act now.”

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About New Yorker United for Justice (NYUJ):

New Yorkers United for Justice is a statewide coalition comprised of local and national non-profit organizations committed to supporting a movement that will bring much-needed criminal justice reform to New York State and ensure that policies promote safety and fairness. NYUJ aims for legislative urgency to fix a broken criminal justice system that punishes the poor and communities of color, tears families apart, and makes New Yorkers less safe. NYUJ believes that a system that ensures equal access to justice for anyone accused in New York State, regardless of age, race, ethnicity or social economic status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or religion, must be the standard.