Legal Aid Society


LAS Files Lawsuit to Free 116 Clients in Pretrial Detention, Incarcerated on a Parole Violation Hold

The Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court, New York County today on behalf of 116 individuals currently in pretrial detention or being held on a parole violation at Rikers Island and other local jails, as reported by the New York Daily News. These individuals, by virtue of their age and/or underlying medical condition, are particularly vulnerable to serious illness or death if infected by COVID-19, and jail conditions make it impossible to protect them. Today’s filing is the continuation of lawsuits public defenders have brought for vulnerable clients over the last couple of days.

“COVID-19 has already reached Rikers Island and is currently spreading, posing an unconscionable and entirely preventable risk of harm to these vulnerable individuals,” said Corey Stoughton, Attorney-in-Charge of the Special Litigation Unit with the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “Jails are a breeding ground for infectious disease and imprisonment at Rikers Island pretrial or on a parole violation hold might well carry a death sentence. COVID-19 will continue to spread throughout these jails and people will die unless the city acts to release our clients who are at a heightened risk immediately.”