Concerns over resuming intake of prisoners in state and county jails

Local News

ALBANY, NY – Back in March, the state Department of Corrections suspended intake of inmates in state prisons from county jail facilities in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

While some movement has begun to start the transfer again, some sheriffs say it continues to be a burden on counties.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca takes a look at the issue.

In Mid-June the Department of Corrections began to resume taking in inmates sentenced to state prison on a gradual, regional basis, and as long as certain criteria were hit.

While about 14 ‘state-ready’ individuals have now been transferred out of the Albany County Correctional Facility, Sheriff Craig Apple says the jail still currently has about 33 “state-readies” representing about 10 percent of the facility’s population.

Though Apple says there’s a stipend of about $100 per inmate per day, it doesn’t cover all the costs.

((Craig Apple, Albany County Sheriff))
Please keep in mind if I have a patient that’s sickly, pharmaceutical costs, and healthcare, you know those costs can really rack up. I don’t get reimbursed for that.

Apple says he’d rather have the empty cells than receive the stipends.

((Craig Apple, Albany County Sheriff))
Obviously we’d like to see them go down, but I know the state’s backed up because every other county’s trying to do the same thing.

The Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties says all-in-all he doesn’t believe it’s putting a strain on counties at this point.

((Stephen Acquario, NYSAC Executive Director))
I think we’re working in a very cooperative way with … the State Department of Corrections. It makes little sense to move individuals around from one area of incarceration to another area of incarceration and to subject different populations with a potential of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

As of Friday, the Department of Corrections had accepted more than 210 individuals from county jails and had another 140+ scheduled for transfer.

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