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LAS Condemns Staten Island DA's Call to End Decarceration Efforts During Pandemic

Christopher Pisciotta, Attorney-in-Charge of the Staten Island Trial Office at The Legal Aid Society, penned a letter to the editor in today’s New York Daily News condemning a recent op-ed by Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon criticizing efforts to secure the release of incarcerated New Yorkers from local jails, facilities where COVID-19 has exploded among the jail population infecting and killing both those in custody and correction staff.

“As public defenders, we have a legal and moral obligation to protect our clients, which includes zealously advocating for their release from a facility that has earned the moniker ‘the epicenter of the epicenter’ during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pisciotta writes.

“These are people who suffer debilitating health conditions, and per the Department of Correction, are considered especially vulnerable to COVID-19. It’s also a complete fallacy and Trumpian for McMahon to recklessly argue that our clients are in better care on Rikers when the Board of Correction continues to admonish DOC for failing to adequately care for those in its custody. Even top DOC physicians have called for broad release.”

Read the full piece here.