FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 8, 2020
Contact: Jessica Floyd | JFloyd@Skdknick.com |
NYUJ TESTING UPDATE: NEW YORK STATE PRISONS ONLY TESTS 23 IN ONE WEEK — .06% OF THE ENTIRE DOCCS POPULATION; COALITION URGES NYS INCREASE TESTING, NOT SLOW DOWN
New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Has Only Tested 23 Incarcerated Individuals in the Last Week — DOCCS Testing Continues to Trail Statewide Capacity
NYUJ to New York State: Test Every Individual In The Prison System and Present a Plan to Address COVID-19 in the Criminal Justice System
NEW YORK – New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) today called on New York State to present a transparent plan to combat coronavirus throughout the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). Since last week, DOCCS administered tests to only 23 incarcerated individuals, which is less than one percent of the incarcerated population. Any viable plan from DOCCS must include testing every incarcerated individual to establish a baseline of viral impact. New York’s data continues to detail an increasingly negligent approach to prison safety during this global pandemic. New Yorkers United for Justice has called for not only a policy change since March, but a publicly disclosed plan to prevent the spread of coronavirus in correctional facilities and the statewide criminal justice system.
“Continuing to drag feet on administering COVID-19 tests to the state’s incarcerated population, six months into a global pandemic, is irresponsible and dangerous. Medical experts could not be more clear on how essential testing, on a rolling-basis, is as a preventive and deterrent measure. Yet in a state where testing capacity exceeds the prison population many times over, DOCCS continues to test a sliver of all incarcerated New Yorkers.” said Khalil A. Cumberbatch, Senior Advisor at New Yorkers United for Justice. “At the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 was considered the great equalizer, but we know the responses of governments and communities prove otherwise. Everyone in New York, including incarcerated individuals, should have access to testing and a publicly released action plan to address their community’s unique exposure to the virus. DOCCS is posing an undue risk on the public by not grasping the viral impact in our state’s prisons.”
Prisons are just one facet of the criminal justice system that must be addressed. Crowded courtrooms, for example, can contribute to virus transmission and can present enormous risks for all court personnel, lawyers, witnesses, accused persons, and the general public. NYUJ has developed recommended principles for the state’s justice system to minimize the risk of renewed outbreaks by relying on post COVID practices in policing, sentencing, incarceration, and supervision.
COVID Cases Among Incarcerated Individuals and Correctional Staff
Updated on September 8, 2020
|Prison System (Accessed Sep. 8, 2020)||Incarcerated Positive||Staff Positive||Incarcerated Individual to Staff COVID ratio||# of Tests for incarcerated population|
|New Jersey||2,885||1,000||2.89||Phase 2 testing, testing all individuals who tested negative in Phase 1.|
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.