Legal Aid Society


Data: City Still Failing to Ensure Access to Medical Care for Incarcerated New Yorkers

New data provided by the City shows that the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) continues to be in contempt of a court order to provide access to medical care for incarcerated New Yorkers, despite their claims of compliance, as reported by the New York Daily News.

This October, The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, and Milbank LLP filed a class-action lawsuit against the DOC over its continued failure to provide access to medical care in the City jails. A judge ordered the City to comply with the suit’s demands, but the Department has failed to meet that obligation.

In May, the court found DOC in contempt and gave the City 30 days to demonstrate that it is no longer violating the Court’s order or face a $100 fine for each medical appointment missed from December 11, 2021 through January 2022.

Last week, DOC submitted an affidavit claiming that it had complied with the order. However, in that document, the agency admits it “failed to produce 186 inmates due to lack of escort availability,” which demonstrates ongoing noncompliance.

While the reported number of missed appointments is down significantly, this appears largely due to unexplained changes in the way DOC collects and reports data. For example, the agency is now reporting the number of people who have missed medical appointments, rather than the total number of missed appointments.

“The Department of Correction’s claim that it has complied with the Court’s order is wrong,” reads a statement from Legal Aid and its partners. “DOC has admitted that nearly 200 people were denied access to medical care from mid-May to mid-June, so its continued noncompliance is obvious. And we have serious concerns that DOC has completely reorganized, without explanation, how its data is reported, raising questions as to whether DOC’s alleged ‘progress’ matches the reality on the ground in the City’s jails, where three people have died in just the last week.”