(WETM) – Correctional officers in New York will not be allowed to wear or bring in their own masks to work, according to The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

“Correction officers can and do wear a mask when appropriate to the medical situation. There is a Department Directive that outlines what can be worn with the uniform.  The masks are not allowed unless medically necessary for the job and area they work in and then will be provided to them.”

The New York State Department of Health and CDC do not recommend that the general public use face masks to protect themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather, people are encouraged to wash their hands regularly and use hand sanitizer if water and soap are not available.

DOCCS also says that “internal transfers of incarcerated individuals has been stopped except for medical, disciplinary and other exigent circumstances to ensure the continued health and safety of our staff and incarcerated population.”

The union called for the stop of all unnecessary transports several days before they ceased this Monday.  NYSCOPBA felt is a necessary step to safeguard staff and inmates from the spread of the virus.  Anywhere there is a threat of the spread of the virus staff should be equipped and allowed to wear protective masks. 

James Miller
Director of Public Relations, NYSCOPBA

Visitation to several local jails and state prisons has been restricted during the health crisis.