Coalition calls COVID-19 releases of high-profile inmates 'unfair'

Among those seeing release are President Trump's ex-attorney Michael Cohen, who is being let out early from federal prison, and former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who will serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement.

News 12 Staff

Apr 17, 2020, 9:17 PM

Updated 1,554 days ago

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Questions have arisen about whether high-profile inmates are getting preferential treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic and being released.
Among those seeing release are President Trump's ex-attorney Michael Cohen, who is reportedly being let out early from federal prison, and former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who has COVID-19 and will serve the remainder of his political corruption sentence in home confinement.
Lisa Tyson, director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition calls the moves unfair. She feels more inmates, regardless of their finances, should be released early before the cases inside Long Island facilities skyrocket.
Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon says because of the measures they've taken, they have contained the virus. He says they've only had one inmate test positive for the virus.
"What we did was, there was 23 other inmates that he came into contact with," says Toulon. "We moved them to a separate area. The housing area that they were all in has been closed down, it's been sanitized."
So far, the state has resisted calls to release inmates in state prison over COVID-19, but some have been let go from county and local jails. In Suffolk, the state has freed 15 parolees.
It's a decision Toulon is not in favor of.
"I could see if we had an outbreak that was uncontrollable but since we can control it and we've been doing a very good job, why risk it?"
Nassau officials say they currently have 25 inmates who have tested positive for the virus. All of those individuals are in insolation.
They say while they have have been directed to release some inmates since the outbreak began, they do not know whether the releases are related to the virus.
 


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