Mar 19, 2020 - Health

N.Y. prisons medical official calls on judges to free inmates over coronavirus

several of the jails on Rikers Island as seen from a departing domestic flight leaving nearby Laguardia Airport on November 7, 2019
Several of the jails on Rikers Island as seen from a departing domestic flight leaving nearby Laguardia Airport on Nov. 7, 2019 in Queens, New York. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Ross MacDonald, the chief medical officer for Correctional Health Services in New York, has called on prosecutors and judges to enable prisoners to be released from the state's jails in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: MacDonald made the call in a series of tweets late Wednesday — a day after a New York City Department of Correction officer stationed on Rikers Island died of the virus, per NBC News. A prisoner on the island tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday, NY Mag notes. NYC Department of Correction suspended all in-person visits to its prisons from Wednesday.

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