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LAS Sues to Protect Incarcerated New Yorkers at Upstate Correctional Facility

The Legal Aid Society and Relman Colfax PLLC filed a federal class action lawsuit today in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York against Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Department of Correction and Community Supervision to secure critical protections from COVID-19 for elderly and medically vulnerable incarcerated New Yorkers who were chosen for transfer to Adirondack Correctional Facility from other prisons over the past several months based on their age and medical conditions, as reported by The Intercept.

Despite transforming Adirondack into a prison nursing home in the middle of the pandemic, the State has failed to implement even the most basic measures necessary to keep the people at Adirondack safe from COVID-19. The State’s failures have exposed this incredibly vulnerable group of individuals to unnecessary risk of illness and death.

“Essentially, the state started transferring people halfway through the ongoing pandemic rather than releasing them,” said Stefen Short, Supervising Attorney at The Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project. “The department is engaging in very unsafe practices in transferring people to Adirondack, including not quarantining people upon arrival, not testing people before they’re transferred, shunting people directly into general population without any type of measures to ensure they don’t have Covid or have not been in contact with the anyone who has COVID. And the conditions at Adirondack are totally inadequate to protect people.”