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NY Supreme Court: Incarcerated People Must Be Offered COVID-19 Vaccine

A judge in New York Supreme Court ruled today that Governor Cuomo violated the constitutional rights of incarcerated people in refusing to offer them a COVID-19 vaccine alongside other groups in congregate settings, and ordered that every incarcerated person in the state be made eligible for the vaccine immediately, as reported by The New York Times.

The court sided with a coalition of advocates – Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, The Bronx Defenders, The Legal Aid Society, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Brooklyn Defender Services – who brought the suit on behalf of incarcerated people in New York City jails.

The group argued that the Governor’s decision to exclude people held in jails and prisons was dangerous and discriminatory, and ignored public health guidance. The court agreed, ruling the state arbitrarily excluded incarcerated people, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Read the full decision here.