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Group advocates for release of elderly NY prisoners

(WCAX)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 11:58 PM EDT
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Criminal justice reform advocates are calling on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to release elderly prisoners, saying a plan to move the prisoners to a single North Country amounts to creating a "prison nursing home."

During a virtual press conference Monday, activists said the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision plans to transfer 128 inmates, ages 65 and over, from prisons across the state to the Adirondack Correctional Facility in Ray Brook due to the pandemic. Nearly 100 are already there. The facility previously held adolescent offenders.

According to testing data from state officials, as of this past weekend, 65 inmates had tested negative for COVID-19; nine tests are still pending.

Advocacy groups want the elderly prisoners released to their own home communities instead.

"It is vital that we here in the North Country signal to our elected leaders local and state, that we are here to amplify the urgent and compassionate demand of RAPP (Release Aging People in Prison) and the families of across New York State who are pleading for the release of their aging loved ones," said Martha Swan of the advocacy group, John Brown Lives!

The groups are also advocating for elder parole in New York, where prisoners 55 and older who have served at least 15 years could get evaluated for potential release.

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