Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119th Dist. of Marcy, is urging a suspension of visitation in state prisons to protect incarcerated people, staff and families safe from COVID-19.
Buttenschon announced Thursday she wrote Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Commissioner Anthony Annucci with her concerns after the department announced this week that visitation resumed Wednesday at maximum-security prisons and others beginning Saturday.
Oneida County has three medium security prisons in Marcy and Rome.
“Over the last few months, we’ve seen how quickly COVID-19 can spread in our long-term care facilities and how these outbreaks can have deadly consequences,” Buttenschon said. “We need to take every precaution we can to avoid this type of suffering and loss from happening in our correctional facilities. That’s why I’m strongly urging the DOCCS to continue the suspension of in-person visits and find other ways to ensure families can stay in touch with their loved ones. While I understand the struggles this poses, we must remember that the threat of this virus is ongoing and the safety of staff and incarcerated individuals needs to remain our top priority.”
No COVID-related deaths have been reported at the three prisons in Oneida County, according to the DOCCS as of Wednesday, but Midstate Correctional Facilty has had 22 confirmed cases, March eight and one at Mohawk/Walsh medical unit in Rome.