Prisoner advocacy groups call for release of COVID-19 infected inmates

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ALBANY – Several prisoner advocacy groups, families of state prisoners, and former inmates, Tuesday, called on the State Department of Corrections and Community Services to release inmates who are infected with COVID-19 or are susceptible to the deadly virus.

They noted that at the Elmira prison, nearly 30 percent of the inmate population is infected.

In Hudson Valley state prisons, Greene has 132 positive cases while there are 129 in Green Haven, 114 in Fishkill, and 101 in Shawangunk.

Antoine Dayter is a recently released prisoner from Greene.

“I have witnessed several deaths in that facility as well to due COVID-19. A lot of these inmates are not being treated and are being put in solitary confinement with no contact with their family, no type of medical care whatsoever,” he said.

The state, meanwhile, said it is in the midst of testing every incarcerated person in state prisons, which will be completed by the end of November, and has deployed rapid testing to Greene, Elmira, and Cayuga prisons.

Because of the outbreaks, visitation at Greene and Elmira has been suspended.

The state also sad due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, it has implemented early release opportunities for inmates based on thorough individualized reviews that ensure each person is connected to the services and support that they need to succeed in the community, such as housing and health care.

COVID-19 infection population numbers in other Hudson Valley state prisons include53 in Bedford Hills, one in Coxsackie, 24 in Eastern, 54 in Otisville, 45 in Sing Sing, 26 in Sullivan, three in Taconic, 15 in Ulster, and 69 in Wallkill.

There were no reported cases in the Hudson or Woodbourne correctional facilities.