Criminal justice reform advocates pushing for new coronavirus safety plan behind bars

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NEW YORK (NEWS10) — Prison rights advocates want the state to adopt a new safety plan that increases coronavirus testing for the incarcerated population. At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, New Yorkers United for Justice will hold a Zoom meeting addressing the underwhelming testing regiment in prisons.

You must email NYUJ@skdknick.com and RSVP for the credentials to participate in the Zoom conference.

Speakers will include:

  • Khalil Cumberbatch: NYUJ chief strategist, and a formerly incarcerated New Yorker 
  • Norman L. Reimer: NYUJ board chair, legal expert on criminal justice reform, and president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers   
  • Lauren Krisai, NYUJ treasurer and senior policy analyst at the Coalition for Public Safety 
  • Courtney Bryan, executive director of the Center for Court Innovation

The latest data shows that New York has tested under 2,500 prisoners, compared to states like Michigan and California, who have each tested tens of thousands. In Texas alone, they’ve tested over 100,000 prisoners, and even in Wisconsin, a state with about half as many prisoners as New York, they’ve tested over 17,000.

The advocacy group New Yorkers United for Justice says the data shows a dangerous lag. They’re pushing the state to enact measures to protect prisoners and detainees—uniquely vulnerable to a virus spread through close proximity to others—when they’re arrested or serving time.

“The lack of routine and consistent testing in New York state prisons remains a large blind spot that not only puts those who are incarcerated or work in correction in danger—it threatens the success of New York’s reopening.”

Statement from New Yorkers United for Justice

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