NY should halt unnecessary inmate transports, union says

Inmate transports

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - New York has taken broad action to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but a union representing prison workers says the state is continuing to transport inmates between facilities.

New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) president Mike Powers tells 7 News that corrections workers are still moving prisoners around.

He says officers need protective equipment and believes all non-essential inmate transports need to stop to try to keep COVID-19 out of prisons.

“The transportation aspect of us still carting around inter-department facility transfers -- which means just one inmate going from one facility to another -- draft and reception from potential cases, positive cases coming from county lockups into the state system,” Powers said. “Everything else in the world seems to have stopped and the governor’s own initiatives and concerns regarding containment are not being adhered to by any of his agencies.”

The state has suspended prison visitations until April 11.

A spokes for the state Department of Corrections said that as of Thursday morning, the agency has suspended all transfers from county jails to state prisons.

As far as inmate transfers between state prisons, the agency has begun limiting transfers into some areas and reducing the number of people moved at one time.

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