NYCLU sues for release of ‘medically vulnerable’ Sullivan County Jail inmates

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MONTICELLO – The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a court action to secure the release of four Sullivan County Jail inmates who they said are “medically vulnerable… (and) who face a significant risk of severe illness or death from the coronavirus.”

The organization said the jail is “currently subject to a severe outbreak of the novel coronavirus that is spreading unabated.”

Those contentions are being disputed by jail administration. “We have consistently followed the directives of the State Commission of Correction and State Health Department,” said Undersheriff Eric Chaboty.

NYCLU senior staff attorney Phil Desgranges charged that no precautions were taken for the medically vulnerable people in the jail. “Given Sullivan County’s refusal to act and the rapid spread of coronavirus among nearly half of the jail population, release is the only way to prevent severe illness or death for vulnerable people incarcerated in Sullivan County.”

Chaboty challenged the group’s allegations. “All inmates that had tested positive at the Sullivan County Jail are now off of quarantine as per the New York State Department of Health,” he said. “None of the inmates that are currently incarcerated in our facility are displaying any signs or symptoms associated with COVID-19.”

Chaboty also said that “every single inmate is checked every day by a registered nurse who takes their temperature and looks for signs of the virus.”