Protesters demand release of women at York to keep them safe from COVID-19
Rob Polansky, Posted Apr 23, 2020
NIANTIC, CT (WFSB) – Protesters and family members of inmates held a protest outside of an all women’s prison in East Lyme.
They demanded that Gov. Ned Lamont release the inmates of the York Correctional Institution in Niantic to protect them from the coronavirus.
The rally happened around 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Currently, the state’s plan is if an inmate tests positive at York Correctional, she will remain there.
Some worry that the plan puts others at risk.
The protest comes after several similar ones happened at prisons in the state last week.
Now, a group of Yale professors is joining the call for Connecticut’s prisons to do more.
“We want the governor to do his job and actually reply back to us, like help us,” said Jay Griddin, member of Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice.
As of Thursday morning, 321 inmates and 244 guards across the state tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Department of Correction. One inmate has died.
So far, no inmates at York Correctional have tested positive.
The UConn chapter of the People’s Parity Project is pushing for the Department of Correction to release more veterans.
“It’s very frustrating that we’re still not, we’re not hearing anything back, we’re not seeing any veterans being released,” said Stephen Kennedy, President of UConn’s People’s Parity Project.
About 20 students have volunteered to help veterans with military benefits, unemployment, and legal issues. The veterans are currently in a special transition program, but Kennedy says the DOC isn’t talking.
“In the meantime, there’s a lot of people still in there who are trapped in these conditions that are really ripe for just a huge outbreak,” Kennedy said.
Lamont didn’t respond for a request for comment, but the DOC said the protests, “In reality, have the opposite of their intended affect – distracting staff from caring for the offenders, endangering those whose safety they espouse to protect.”
The Yale professors were especially critical of the decision to move COVID positive inmate to Northern. They say the prison is not set up for medical isolation, and inmates may be less likely to come forward with symptoms, so they aren’t taken to the maximum security prison.