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LAS Condemns DOC Staff for Failing to Wear Masks, Practice Social Distancing

The Legal Aid Society, in a recently issued letter, condemned the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) for the widespread failure among staff to wear masks and practice social distancing, as reported by the Queens Daily Eagle.

In recent weeks, Legal Aid Attorneys who have participated in videoconferences and in-person legal visits to DOC facilities describe a persistent failure of DOC staff to wear masks and follow COVID-19 protocols. Legal Aid staff reports that this problem extends across multiple facilities in the borough jails and on Rikers Island, and that it has occurred for months.

“Public health authorities are clear that we must remain vigilant, because the danger of this virus is not behind us,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “The city’s failure to ensure that its employees abide by basic protocols such as the requirement to wear masks causes us grave concern about whether DOC is implementing all COVID-19 protocols with fidelity.”