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NYC Public Defenders Demand Transparency on NYC Jails’ COVID-19 Protocols in Anticipation of Potential Second Wave

September 14, 2020

Contact: Lupe Todd-Medina, New York County Defender Services (LToddmedina@nycds.org)

NYC Public Defenders Demand Transparency on NYC Jails’ COVID-19 Protocols in Anticipation of Potential Second Wave
With Lack of Clear and Current Information, Defenders Have Grave Concerns for Health and Safety of Incarcerated People As Jail Population Grows

(NEW YORK, NY) - The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders, New York County Defender Services, Queens Defenders, and Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem sent a letter on September 11th to NYC Department of Correction (DOC) Commissioner Cynthia Brann, Senior Vice President of Correctional Health Services (CHS) Dr. Patsy Yang, NYC Board of Correction (BOC) Chair Jennifer Jones Austin, and other members of the BOC requesting updated public policies and procedures related to COVID-19 in NYC jails.

The coronavirus took a tremendous toll on New York City, and tragic loss of life and serious illness impacted every stakeholder population in the criminal legal system, from incarcerated people to judges to DOC staff. Despite this grave impact, DOC, BOC, and CHS have failed to release clear and current information on their health and safety protocols to protect against COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic. As the jail population grows and cases spike elsewhere in the country, these agencies must have exhaustive written policies in place that are publicly available, effectively communicated, and robustly enforced to prevent or at least reduce a second wave of cases in NYC jails.

Read the letter in its entirety here.