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Covid-19 makes its way into New York jail network

AT LEAST 38 people have tested positive for coronavirus in New York’s prisons, including at the notorious Rikers Island complex. 

In a letter to the city’s criminal justice leaders, Board of Correction interim chairwoman Jacqueline Sherman described a jail system in crisis.

She said in the last week board members had learned that 12 Department of Correction employees, five Correctional Health Services employees and 21 people detained at Rikers and city jails had tested positive for the disease.

And at least another 58 were being monitored in the prison’s contagious disease and quarantine units, she said.

“It is likely these people have been in hundreds of housing areas and common areas over recent weeks and have been in close contact with many other people in custody and staff,” said Sherman, warning that cases could skyrocket. 

“The best path forward to protecting the community of people housed and working in the jails is to rapidly decrease the number of people housed and working in them.”


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