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Brooklyn federal judge orders twice-weekly coronavirus reports on jails

April 3, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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Chief Judge Roslynn Mauskopf of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York announced on Thursday that her court has had so many applications for release of prisoners with cases pending in the district that she wants twice-weekly reports from the local jails regarding COVID-19.

Chief Judge Mauskopf ordered the first report by Friday at noon with subsequent reports each Tuesday and Thursday at 4 p.m. after that.

Defendants in federal cases pending in the district are primarily held in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, the Metropolitan Correctional Center New York in Manhattan, and a private prison facility operated by the GEO Group in Queens.

“A primary basis cited in each of these applications is the general risk of contracting COVID-19 as a result of the defendant’s continued confinement, together with additional information specific to the particular defendant and case,” Chief Judge Mauskopf wrote in the order to the three wardens.

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The reports are to include incidence of infection of coronavirus at each facility and the measures taken to mitigate the virus. Specifically, the judge wants to see what protocols are in place for screening and testing inmates, staff and others entering the facility, and the number of tests performed and the number of positive tests for prisoners, staffers and visitors.

“(E)ach status report shall also be provided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to the Executive Director of Federal Defenders of New York for dissemination as appropriate to counsel for defendants detained in these facilities, and to the U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and the U.S. Marshals for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York,” she wrote.

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