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LAS Secures Release of 106 Incarcerated New Yorkers at High Risk of COVID-19

The Legal Aid Society – through litigation brought earlier this week in New York State Supreme Court, Bronx County – secured the immediate release of 106 individuals currently held at Rikers Island on a non-criminal technical parole violation, as reported by Mother Jones. 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.

Technical parole violations are non-criminal matters for which individuals can be held in custody without bail for missing a curfew, failing to report, or failing to notify their parole officer of an address change.

“While the government should have released these people without need for judicial intervention, we applaud the Court for this ruling, which will help to save our vulnerable clients from contracting a virus that has already killed thousands worldwide,” said Corey Stoughton, Attorney-in-Charge of the Special Litigation Unit with the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “Rikers Island has emerged as the epicenter in the United States for COVID-19 with an infection rate significantly higher than New York City, New York State, and the rest of the country. Today’s ruling is a significant step forward, but we will not quit until all of our clients are safely released from custody back to their homes and their families.”​