ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A call to action is being made by the President of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (NYSCOPBA) asking Governor Cuomo and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) to take immediate steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the New York State prison system.
The call to action is in response to the state’s increasing COVID-19 positivity rates heading into the holiday season.
“With COVID-19 rates beginning to spike throughout New York, we are calling on the Governor and DOCCS to take immediate steps to prevent any outbreaks inside the facilities where my members serve the people of this State. We are requesting that all non-essential inmate movement cease, visitations be paused and inmates be placed in an ‘every other cubical’ setting inside prison dormitories,” stated Powers.
NYSCOPBA has reportedly been aggressively pursuing the implementation of additional safety measures to protect members and those incarcerated since the pandemic began. The union’s insistence on preventative measures is said to be the primary reason that the infection rate has remained so low inside the prison system over the past several months.
The recent easing of restrictions has reportedly resulted in virus outbreaks inside several New York State prisons. NYSCOPBA, specifically citing the state’s reaction to the recent outbreaks at the Greene and Elmira Correctional Facilities
“New York should once again heed NYSCOPBA’s call to put immediate safeguards in place before additional outbreaks occur. When the positivity rates inside Greene and Elmira exploded, NYSCOPBA called for the stoppage of visitations and nonessential transports, as well as implementing social distancing and rapid testing for staff. As a result, we’ve seen the positive levels decline significantly in those two prisons. The state needs to act now, system-wide, before it’s too late,” said Powers.