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NYSCOPBA calls for suspension of inmate visits at NYS correctional facilities

The NYSCOBPA cites COVID-19 increases at two correctional facilities outside of the Western New York region, adding that more facilities are "on the brink."

ALBANY, N.Y. — Due to a recent increase in COVID-19 cases among inmates at correctional facilities in New York, the New York State Correctional Officers Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (NYSCOBPA) is calling for the immediate suspension of inmate visitation.

The NYSCOBPA cites increases at two correctional facilities outside of the Western New York region, adding that more facilities are "on the brink."

The first being Elmira Correctional Facility, which according to NYSCOPBA, saw an increase in COVID cases with both staff and inmates. The facility reports over 30 positive cases and has over 120 people under quarantine.

The second outbreak is at the Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie, which had more than 70 inmates test positive for COVID-19 over the past two weeks. The NYSCOPBA says there are close to 300 tests still pending.

The union says lockdown measures should be put in place for state prisons where COVID cases are surging, similar to those recently unveiled by Governor Andrew Cuomo for areas in and around New York City that have COVID-19 "micro-clusters." Further comparison is made between restrictions put in place by the state for visitors of nursing homes, saying similar standards should be put in place for state prisons.

"Visitation should be immediately suspended at hotspot facilities and DOCCS should require anyone who visits an incarcerated inmate provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 14 days," the NYSCOPBA said in a press release.