NYUJ TESTING UPDATE: IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED TO AVOID ANOTHER DOCCS OUTBREAK; NYUJ COALITION CALLS ON DOCCS TO ALIGN WITH STATE TESTING APPROACH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 3, 2020 
Contact: Jessica Floyd | JFloyd@Skdknick.com | 

NYUJ TESTING UPDATE: IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED TO AVOID ANOTHER DOCCS OUTBREAK; NYUJ COALITION CALLS ON DOCCS TO ALIGN WITH STATE TESTING APPROACH

New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Need to Get on Board with New York State’s COVID-19 Strategy

NEW YORK –Following news that positive cases continue to rise across the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) today called on New York State to mandate DOCCS to align with the state’s COVID-19 strategy in all its facilities. Outbreaks like those in  Elmira Correctional Facility and Greene Correctional Facility are prime examples of the threat DOCCS inaction poses to all New Yorkers. These outbreaks remain inevitable if DOCCS does not adopt evidence-based strategies to contain and prevent COVID in its facilities.. The incubation period of COVID-19 and the sensitivity threshold of the diagnostic tests create a need for rapid and mass testing of incarcerated New Yorkers and corrections staff. Diagnostic test results older than two weeks are irrelevant in the fight against COVID in prisons. . DOCCS’ failure to routinely test all incarcerated New Yorkers places the agency and public in jeopardy. Routine mass testing must be followed by antibody testing upon negative diagnostic results, especially during flu season. DOCCS has admitted they are short of vaccines. Misdiagnosing COVID-19 for the flu will exacerbate the risk of another prison outbreak and increase the potential of spreading to neighboring communities. Lastly, New York State must continue to look at ways to decrease the incarcerated population to decrease density and promote social distancing.

New Yorkers United for Justice has called for not only mass testing since March, but a publicly disclosed plan to prevent the spread of coronavirus in correctional facilities and the statewide criminal justice system.

COVID Cases Among Incarcerated Individuals and Correctional Staff
Updated on November 2, 2020

Prison System (Accessed  Nov 2, 2020) Incarcerated Positive Staff Positive Incarcerated Individual to Staff COVID ratio # of Tests for incarcerated population
Alabama 538 467 1.15 5,367
California 15,877 4,401 3.61 101,386
Delaware* 559 193 2.90 N/A
Federal BOP 17,461 2,262 7.72 69,571
Florida 16,620 3,479 4.78 83,017
Georgia 2,058 1,014 2.03 N/A
Illinois 2,556 1,259 2.03 N/A
Indiana 1,582 605 2.61 8,149
Iowa 1,280 226 5.66 20,106
Kansas 3,609 440 8.20 N/A
Louisiana 2,412 521 4.63 6,845
Michigan 7,141 791 9.03 181,310
Missouri 3,620 1,158 3.13 50,103
Nevada 28 166 0.17 12,368
New Jersey 2,925 1,059 2.76 Phase 3 testing, testing all individuals who tested negative in Phase 2.
New York 1,577 1,503 1.05 27,577
Ohio 6,934 1,544 4.49 38,605
Oregon 1,258 300 4.19 8,486
Pennsylvania 746 479 1.56 20,009
South Carolina 2,355 523 4.50 N/A
Texas* 23,400 5,532 4.23 218,807
Vermont 55 24 2.29 2,057
Wisconsin 4,329 953 4.54 54,495

*Departments have not updated data since last report.

         ###

About New Yorkers 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 socioeconomic status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or religion, must be the standard.