Legal Aid Society


LAS: Unvaccinated Correction Officers Will Deepen Crisis in City Jails

The Legal Aid Society is sounding the alarm over corrections officers’ refusal to comply with the City’s vaccine mandate. As of Tuesday’s deadline, only 77% of officers have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, as reported by POLITICO.

A mass wave of staff absenteeism by Department of Correction staff has compounded long-standing problems to create an extraordinarily dangerous environment for people in custody. According to a recent filing in Nunez v. City of New York, 2,351 correction officers – or about 29% percent of the staff – remain out on sick leave or other status. Officers who are unvaccinated will be forced to take unpaid leave, further compounding the problem.

“The refusal by many correction officers to comply with the City’s vaccine mandate will only exacerbate the serious crises facing our incarcerated clients at local jails,” reads a statement from Legal Aid. “This failure by the City to manage its correction workforce in a manner that keeps everyone held and working in local jails safe reflects a profound absence of leadership.”

Fourteen people have died in Department of Correction custody already this year. Legal Aid continues to call on Governor Hochul, Mayor de Blasio, and local District Attorneys to work towards decarceration, removing New Yorkers from a dire situation by the many means available to them.