Protect People in Jails and Prisons from Coronavirus

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People in prisons and jails are highly vulnerable to outbreaks of diseases like Covid. They are packed together in close quarters with little control over their daily interactions with others, and are often in poor health. As case numbers surge in New York jails and prisons, the state has done very little to stop the spread, and it’s unclear when those who are locked up will have access to a vaccine.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Gov. Cuomo we need urgent action to protect people who are incarcerated from Covid.

Message Recipients:
Governor Cuomo

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Your Message

I am writing to urge you to take action to protect the lives of people in jails and prisons during the pandemic. Despite the calls of communities and advocates from across the state, thousands of people remain incarcerated and at heightened risk of contracting Covid.

People in prisons and jails are highly vulnerable to outbreaks of contagious illnesses like Covid. They are packed together in close quarters with little control over their daily interactions with others, and are often in poor health. Since the pandemic began, there have been thousands of reported cases of Covid amongst people incarcerated in New York State prisons.

To make matters worse, the state has not announced any plan to get people who are incarcerated vaccinated.

New York must dramatically reduce its incarcerated population, limit new admissions into jails and prisons, take active steps to reduce the risk to any individuals who remain incarcerated, and make all plans regarding the management of Covid in jails and prisons available to the public.

The state must also prioritize vaccinating people who are incarcerated.

You should release as many people as possible who are incarcerated in our jails and prisons, prioritizing:

• People with underlying health conditions
• People over 50
• People detained for administrative reasons (including parole violations)
• People who are held pre-trial (and legally innocent)
• People serving a sentence who are slated for release soon

You should also direct authorities to limit new admissions to jails and prisons to only those deemed necessary for public safety, and call on all district attorneys to decline to prosecute low-level offenses.

Dozens of people have lost their lives to Covid while locked behind bars in our state. We cannot wait a moment longer. I’m counting on you to take the necessary steps to stop any more preventable deaths of incarcerated New Yorkers.

There are thousands of lives on the line.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

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