May 30, 2020: New York, New York
WHEN: Saturday, May 30, 2020, 1PM
WHERE: Governor Cuomo’s NYC Office–633 3rd Ave, New York, zoom
WHO: NY Docs Collective, Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, VOCAL-NY, Physicians for a National Health Program – NY Metro Chapter, NYC Coalition to Dismantle Racism in the Health System, COVID-19 Frontline Workers Task Force (Mt. Sinai Hospital), Doctors for Camp Closure, Healthcare Equity Action League of New York, JFREJ, Students for a National Health Program – NY Metro, White Coats For Black Lives – Bronx, NYS Poor People’s Campaign, and other medical professionals
WHAT: On the two-month anniversary of the death of Juan Mosquero–the first incarcerated person in NY State prison to die of COVID-19–doctors and medical professionals will gather in their white coats and scrubs at a social distance to call on Governor Cuomo to grant wide-sweeping clemencies to people incarcerated in New York State prisons amidst COVID-19. The group will call on the Governor to grant clemency to people who 1) are aged 55 and older; 2) have underlying medical conditions; 3) are within one year of their release; and 4) are incarcerated for parole violations.
BACKGROUND: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Governor Cuomo has issued zero clemencies to incarcerated New Yorkers. Instead, he has released less than one half of one percent (.5%) of people using other, narrow mechanisms with sweeping categorical exclusions that leave behind the large majority of incarcerated people vulnerable to COVID-19.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, at least 15 state prison systems and the federal prison system have recognized that preventing massive suffering and death behind bars necessitates significant reductions in prison populations, and have reduced their incarcerated populations by more than one percent. Governors and state prison systems in Kentucky, California, Wisconsin, Utah, Maine, and Vermont, have all reduced their prison populations by more than at least four percent. New York State prisons have more COVID cases, and higher rates of COVID, than all six of these states that have taken more action. New York State prisons have a high rate of confirmed infections despite only testing less than two percent of incarcerated people.
New York doctors and medical professionals facing COVID on the frontlines recognize that Governor Cuomo’s inaction in granting clemency will exacerbate and prolong the pandemic. It will have dire consequences for those incarcerated in New York prisons, those who work there, and the community at large. All New Yorkers are only as safe as those behind bars.