Together with Ford Foundation and other philanthropies, we call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to release as many people as possible from New York’s adult and juvenile correctional facilities. We must protect the lives and dignity of people serving time behind bars.
Adults and kids in jails, prisons, and juvenile facilities don’t have the ability to practice social distancing and help prevent coronavirus infection. Instead, incarcerated people, many of whom fall into the highest risk categories, are stuck behind bars, vulnerable to the virus, and unable to access even basic sanitary supplies. Those who work within facilities also face the threat of exposure. All of their lives are at risk.
The fallout of COVID-19 has undeniably been exacerbated by longstanding problems within incarcerative facilities. Now more than ever we must work to transform its culture, improve conditions, and reduce the reach of our corrections system.
We must not leave people to face a death sentence because we failed to take action. Compassionate release is vital to saving lives and promoting public health in this time of crisis. Gov. Cuomo, and governors across the country, should act now.