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Coronavirus spreading in state prisons and jails

Mar 23, 2020 7:21 am
There are many reports about a growing problem with a COVID-19 outbreak in New York's jails and prisons. Capital region reporter Joe Mahoney reported March 22 that film producer Harvey Weinstein, currently serving a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault at maximum-security Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Michael Powers, president of the state correctional officers’ union, who said that three state corrections officers also tested positive, and many more are being monitored. “The corrections officers being monitored include 58 NYSCOPBA members in the Hudson Valley, including 28 assigned to the maximum security Green Haven Correctional Facility,” Powers said. In New York City, there are reports that 38 people have tested positive at the Rikers Island complex and nearby facilities. So far, 12 Department of Correction employees, five Correctional Health Services employees, and 21 people in custody at Rikers and city jails had tested positive for the coronavirus. "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 Board of Correction interim chairperson Jacqueline Sherman. "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."