‘IT HAS BEEN LIFE-THREATENING’: LAWSUITS DETAIL COVID CONDITIONS, QUESTION WHY MORE PRISONERS AREN’T RELEASED AMID VIRUS SURGE
Dec 24, 2020
By Deborah Becker
Two lawsuits filed in the past week allege that Massachusetts correction officials are endangering prisoners and staff during the pandemic, refusing to take steps that would tamp down infections and protect communities outside the prison walls.
Both suits say the current outbreaks in correctional facilities could have been avoided if more prisoners were released.
“In the past six weeks over 1,000 prisoners have been confirmed infected, over two thirds of the total infections to date. Five incarcerated people have died in the past month,” reads the preliminary injunction filed Wednesday by Prisoners Legal Services of Massachusetts (PLSMA). “All the measures DOC has put in place to control the spread of infection, such as lockdowns, mask use, and disinfection, have failed.”
The PLSMA emergency motion names as defendants Massachusetts Department of Correction commissioner Carol Mici, Parole Board Chair Gloriann Moroney and Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Secretary Thomas Turco.