State Lawmakers Examine COVID-19 Impact On Jails, Prisons

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ALBANY – State lawmakers say there have been fairly low COVID-19 infection rates in people incarcerated in jails and prisons in New York.

During a hearing Tuesday, officials disclosed there are about 37,000 inmates currently incarcerated and of those, 773 tested positive, 11,201 tested negative.






In addition, officials said 1,329 staff members were positive and that 98 percent of those people have recovered and returned to work, according to Anthony Annucci, the acting commissioner of the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Several measures were taken to help safekeep incarcerated people and staff members, including “…Removing non-essential staff from the workplace, the difficult decision of suspending visitation and programs, deploying masks to staff, and the incarcerated population to making hand sanitizers available,” Annucci said.





There have also been “early release opportunities” for certain people serving time. He said the Department has expanded testing, offering more than 13,000 COVID diagnostic tests to those incarcerated.

There have been 17 COVID-related fatalities of incarcerated individuals: five staff deaths and four parolee deaths. It’s a much different side-by-side comparison with facilities like nursing homes, officials said.











Due to low infection rates, DOCCS has also “gradually” reintroduced non-essential staff and resumed some vocational and academic programs.

 

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