Legal Aid Society


Defenders to Cuomo: Stop Blocking Vaccinations for Incarcerated Clients

The Legal Aid Society, Brooklyn Defender Services, New York County Defender Services, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, The Bronx Defenders, Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County, Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, Center for Appellate Litigation, Appellate Advocates, and the Office of the Appellate Defender, in a recently issued demand letter, called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to authorize distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to New Yorkers incarcerated in state prisons and local jails or face a legal challenge, reports POLITICO New York.

The letter highlights New York State’s irrational exclusion of incarcerated people from the list of people living in congregate settings who have been prioritized for vaccinations, contrary to public health guidance.

This demand comes as almost 5,000 New Yorkers in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) have tested positive for COVID-19. Another 30 New Yorkers in prisons alone have succumbed to the virus since last March.

“We demand that you change this policy effective immediately and authorize vaccinations for people held in jail and prison custody. If you do not change your policy, we will have no choice but to seek legal remedies for our clients,” stated the Defenders.