Criminal justice activists call for release of at risk inmates

Local News

BINGHAMTON, NY – Local criminal justice activists say county leaders will have blood on their hands if they don’t take steps to release at-risk inmates from the Broome County Jail.

Justice and Unity in the Southern Tier, or JUST, held a closed door car rally down the road from the correctional facility yesterday.

The protest was timed to coincide with County Executive Jason Garnar’s daily media briefing.

JUST is demanding that those at high-risk for infection and those being held on non-violent charges all be set free to keep them getting the coronavirus.

The group is also calling for better medical treatment, nutrition, testing and sanitation supplies inside the jail.

“All the cleaning in the world, however, is not going to prevent the spread of the virus in a jail. People are simply in too close proximity, there’s no such thing as social distancing in a jail,” says JUST member Andrew Pragacz.

JUST was joined by Citizen Action and Truth Pharm in staging the rally.

They blared their car horns as a signal of their opposition

Sheriff Dave Harder told NewsChannel 34 earlier this week that his administration is taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety of inmates.

That includes taking the temperatures of all corrections officers and service workers entering the facility.

And putting new inmates into a separate pod as part of a 2 week quarantine from the general population.

Harder says 2 tests of people in the jail both came back negative and he believes the inmates are actually more protected from the virus inside than they would be out in the community.

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