LAS Secures the Release of Eight Pregnant Women Incarcerated at Bedford Hills
The Legal Aid Society secured the release of eight pregnant women currently incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and called on Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Correction and Community Supervision (DOCCS) to release two additional pregnant clients immediately, reports CBS News.
Legal Aid had included all ten of the women in a recently issued demand letter to protect them and their unborn children from serious complications from COVID-19. All of these women are serving sentences for non-violent crimes and some are held as a result of technical parole violations. Some are due to be released in just a few weeks, and all have release dates within a year.
Legal Aid issued this demand letter to Governor Cuomo’s Administration two days before state correction’s officials announced that DOCCS will begin reviewing and releasing incarcerated women who are pregnant or postpartum. However, Legal Aid raised concern that these reviews could take too long, and DOCCS had not communicated to Legal Aid whether these ten clients – would be eligible for immediate release. All of the women had been incarcerated at Bedford Hills, which already has 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19. One woman in the facility has become the first woman in New York State prisons to die from the virus.
“There is no justification to hold these women in custody further as the COVID-19 infection rate continues to climb, endangering the lives of everyone in prison,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. “Any further delay is heartless and will keep our clients and their unborn children in serious danger.”