VIGIL PROTESTING COVID-19 PRISON DEATHS TO BE HELD AT NY’S FISHKILL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

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[COVID-19 Prison Deaths\New York]
To date, at least 415 incarcerated people and 1143 staff in the state prison system have tested positive for the virus. Fishkill Correctional Facilities has more COVID infections and COVID deaths than any other prison in New York State.
Photo: Twitter

NY criminal justice advocates will hold a two-day vigil at Fishkill Correctional Facility to protest COVID-19 deaths of prisoners.

In the wake of more new COVID-19 prison deaths, criminal justice advocates will hold a two-day vigil outside Fishkill Correctional Facility, and its prison’s burial grounds, to mourn incarcerated people lost to COVID-19 and call on Gov. Cuomo to grant mass clemencies.

The advocates will push the message that: prisons plus COVID-10 equals death. They will also call for the immediate release of vulnerable New York prisoners.

The coalition of advocates and community members will host a socially-distanced demonstration, car caravan, virtual press conference during the two-day vigil outside Fishkill Correctional Facility to honor the lives of those that have been lost to COVID-19 behind bars and call on Governor Cuomo to grand immediate clemencies to incarcerated New Yorkers vulnerable to COVID-19.

The virtual press conference will feature speakers impacted by Fishkill and other state prisons, especially those which house high numbers of older and pregnant people, and others who are vulnerable to COVID-19. The  press conference will be available for press and the public through Zoom: https://bit.ly/FishkillVigil

The two-day vigil will start on Thursday, May 7 at 3 pm. outside the Fishkill Correctional Facility, which has more COVID cases than any other state prison in New York. The advocates will them move next to the prison’s burial grounds, where people who have died while incarcerated across the state are buried.

Advocates who will be involved in the vigil include: formerly incarcerated people, family members of incarcerated people, community leaders, faith leaders, and criminal justice advocates from the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, Parole Preparation Project, Beacon Prison Action Coalition, and other groups.

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 fourteen other New Yorkers incarcerated in the state prison system have died with the virus.

To date, at least 415 incarcerated people and 1143 staff in the state prison system have tested positive for the virus.

Fishkill Correctional Facilities has more COVID infections and COVID deaths than any other prison in New York State--94 incarcerated people are known to have contracted the virus and 5 have died.

Incarcerated people and their family members report that Fishkill is isolating people with COVID-19 symptoms in solitary confinement units that amount to torture, don’t supply incarcerated people with proper personal protective equipment, and have even run out of food.

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, Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to issue a single clemency since the pandemic began.

New York State’s prison system has identified a small number of incarcerated older people within 90 days of the end of their sentence for early release, as well as a small group of pregnant people convicted of nonviolent offenses within six months of their release date. Advocates opposed these measures, saying they don’t go nearly far enough.

VIGIL SCHEDULE:

Thursday, May 7

2-3: Car Caravan

3-4: Press Conference, accessible via Zoom: https://bit.ly/FishkillVigil

4-6: Graveside Vigil

Friday, May 8

9am-6pm: Graveside Vigil

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