FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2021
Statement on NYS Supreme Court Ruling for All Incarcerated New Yorkers to Have Vaccine Access
NEW YORK, NY— Today, the New York State Supreme Court ordered the New York State government to offer all incarcerated New Yorkers access to the COVID-19 vaccine. New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) Executive Director Alexander Horwitz released the following statement in response:
“Nearly half of all states have included incarcerated people in their COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans and have taken various measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in their correctional facilities. Meanwhile, New York State’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) has failed to keep New Yorkers safe throughout this pandemic for over a year. DOCCS has continually ducked responsibility and obfuscated public information—all to avoid exposing their complete unwillingness to test and vaccinate incarcerated New Yorkers.
That is why since March 2020, New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) has consistently and forcefully demanded mass testing, humane treatment, and priority vaccinations as part of what should have been a clear and comprehensive plan to control the spread of COVID-19 after so many tragedies in our prisons. Today’s court ruling by the New York State Supreme Court is a step towards holding DOCCS accountable for their mishandling of the pandemic and long-overdue protections for incarcerated individuals. We will continue to track and expose testing failures and deaths in all DOCCS facilities and monitor the rollout of vaccines when DOCCS finally complies with what was a moral imperative, and is now a court order.”
About New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ)
New Yorkers United for Justice is a statewide coalition 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.