April 21, 2020, 1pm: Outside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, Governor Cuomo’s Mansion in Albany, and Otisville Correctional Facility in the Hudson Valley
The Groups Will Uplift the Message: Prisons + COVID-19 = Death and Call for the Immediate Release of Vulnerable New Yorkers in Prison
WHEN: Tuesday, April 21, 1PM
WHERE: Outside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, Governor Cuomo’s Mansion in Albany, and Otisville Correctional Facility in the Hudson Valley. The virtual press conference will be available for press and the public through zoom: bit.ly/April21Action
WHO: Family members of incarcerated people, community leaders, faith leaders, and criminal justice advocates from the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, Parole Preparation Project, VOCAL-NY, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration, Parole Justice Albany, New Hour for Women and Children Long Island, New York Communities for Change, and other groups.
WHAT: A coalition of advocates and community members will host a coordinated statewide virtual press conference, socially distant noise demonstrations, and car caravans outside two state prisons and the Governor’s mansion to call on Governor Cuomo to grant immediate clemencies to incarcerated New Yorkers vulnerable to COVID-19. The press conference will feature speakers impacted by both Otisvlle and Bedford Hills Correctional Facilities, which house high numbers of older and pregnant people, and others who are vulnerable to COVID-19.
BACKGROUND: On March 30, Juan Mosquero died in isolation at Sing Sing Correctional Facility–he was the first incarcerated person to die in New York State prisons with COVID-19. Since Mr. Mosquero’s death, at least four other New Yorkers incarcerated in the state prison system have died with the virus. To date, 190 incarcerated people and 723 staff in the state prison system have tested positive for the virus. Despite calls from advocates, attorneys, family members of people in prison, public health experts, Members of Congress, district attorneys and philanthropists, and high profile celebrities for the state to release large numbers of people from prison in response to the virus, the Governor has yet to issue a single clemency since the pandemic began. Governors in Kentucky, Illinois, Oklahoma, and California have all issued clemencies to people in their state prison systems since the virus began. New York State’s prison system identified a small number of incarcerated older people within 90 days of the end of their sentence for early release. Advocates opposed the measure, saying it didn’t go nearly far enough.