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NEWS

Short Update: Upstate New York Prison failed to contain the COVID-19 outbreak

FairTrialsAdmin - April 29, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Prison conditions

On 31 March the president of the correctional officers’ union at Ray Brook Federal Correctional Institution in New York, had sounded the alarm of an impending COVID-19 outbreak. Two officers had tested positive and had interacted with staff and the 599 people incarcerated there. Measures were not taken, officers and inmates were not informed of the positive cases, and correctional officers were not allowed to wear masks. Life continued as usual, the inmates continue attending their classes and report to their jobs.  

By 4 April the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced that seven officers at Ray Brook had tested positive for COVID-19, and more were in quarantine. At that point, no one from the county health department had traced the contacts of the first confirmed cases. 

Prisoners, correctional officers, political leaders, and legal advocates agree that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and Ray Brook’s administrators failed to take the necessary measures to prevent or prepare for an outbreak.  

If the disease continues to spread among officers and prisoners at Ray Brook, as it has at other federal prisons, the number of cases could overwhelm the rural health care systems of New York’s North Country. 

Read the entire story here.

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