COBA president: Overcrowded jails create a COVID-19 threat

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — While COVID-19 cases continue to increase and New York City braces for the second wave of the pandemic to strike.

New data showed the city’s jails are overcrowded, making social distancing nearly impossible.

This as two jails are expected to close at the end of the month, which could lead to even more overcrowding.

The head of the correction officers union is going to court to try to stop that from happening.

President of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association Benny Boscio Jr. discussed the alarming numbers. He said there are currently only two jails in New York City that are under 50% capacity.

At the height of the pandemic, over 500 inmates tested positive and more than 1,430 correction officers were positive, he added.

Several officers tested positive recently, and if the city keeps jails open, there will be more space to spread out the inmate population and further prevent the spread of the virus.

“They can’t put financial constraints ahead of public safety,” Boscio said.

With the inmate population growing, Boscio said the endgame is to focus ”more about safety of correction officer and inmates.”

PIX11 reached out to the Department of Correction and a spokeswoman referred PIX11 to the city’s Law Department. A spokeswoman for the Law Department noted that a temporary restraining order on jail closures will last only until Thursday, “when we will get our opportunity to present the actual facts to the Court.”

“The Department’s plan to consolidate two jails, which has been underway for weeks, is being done based on proven public health practices which have been effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” the spokeswoman said.

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