Keeping our community safe: Covid-19 Updates13 March 2020
Osborne's offices are currently closed to the public. We continue to provide services to as many of our participants as possible through the use of technology and other safe practices. You can learn more about how to access or refer services here, or download our flyer "Osborne Programs Accepting Referrals." You may also call our information line at 718-707-2798.
We are updating this page with news and information as it becomes available.
Critical announcements and calls to action:
Visiting reopens August 5 at New York State Correctional Facilities.
Visits resume at maximum security prisons on August 5, and all other facilities on August 8.
The same visiting rules apply as before Covid-19, but people are now limited to two weekend visits per month to limit the number of visitors at any given time. The Family Reunion Program remains closed, but DOCCS will periodically reevaluate the status of this program.
Please visit the DOCCS website (https://doccs.ny.gov/…/web-page-doccs-re-opening-fact-sheet…) to learn about the special steps and precautions visitors are expected to take, and to learn what safety measures will be in place at the facility.
Find the updated visiting schedule for each facility here: (https://doccs.ny.gov/find-facility).
New York State has suspended all in-person reporting visits for people on parole. Read more.
- New York City Department of Correction has suspended visits to city jails and added televisiting options. To register for a televisit, please visit the DOC website and complete a televisit request form.
- Osborne's video visiting program is back! To find out more or register for a video visit please email Dalia Teen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All New Yorkers applying for or already receiving public benefits like food stamps, cash assistance, and rent payments will no longer have to seek help in person for any reason. All services will be available over the phone or online at nyc.gov/accesshra.
Related News Coverage
As of April 30, we are no longer updating the news headline section, below. Timely news about Covid-19 in prisons, jails, and reentry is available at the The Marshall Project and The Appeal.
- The Atlantic, "Quarantine Could Change How Americans Think of Incarceration"
- Truthout, "To Understand COVID in Prisons, Listen to Incarcerated People"
- The Marshall Project, "The 470,000 Potential Voters Most Likely To Be Disenfranchised Next Election"
- Bustle, "'I Am Trying To Get Out Of Here So I Don't Die': 8 Women Experiencing COVID-19 Behind Bars"
- The Marshall Project, "During the COVID-19 Crisis, Don’t Shoot the Messenger"
- NY Daily News, "Legal Aid Society calls for clemency for 40 people in NY prisons"
- Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, "Staff, Youth at Enormous Risk of COVID-19 in Correctional Facilities"
- The Appeal, "A Man With Coronavirus Symptoms at Rikers Island Describes His Ordeal"
- The Marshall Project, "New York Rolled Back Bail Reform. What Will The Rest Of The Country Do?"
- The Appeal, "New York City Must Take Action to Ensure the Most Vulnerable Survive the Pandemic"
- The New York Times, "Getting Off Rikers Island"
- The New York Times, "No Death Sentences for Minor Offenses"
- NY Daily News, "Cuomo’s plan to release inmates amid coronavirus outbreak would’ve excluded parolee who died weeks before being freed"
- The Root, "New COVID-19 Model Predicts Failure to Reduce Jails Will Lead to Nearly 100,000 More Coronavirus Deaths"
- Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, "New York Case Underscores Coronavirus Urgency Around Clemency"
- Vox, "Why US jails and prisons became coronavirus epicenters"
- City Limits, "Unclear How Many NYS Prison Deaths Are Being Investigated"
- The Wall Street Journal, "Rikers Island Jail Guards Are Dying in One of the Worst Coronavirus Outbreaks"
- Albany Times Union, "Five state prison inmates have died from COVID-19, 211 infected"
- The Auburn Citizen, "DOCCS: Inmates in 22 NY Prisons Tested Positive for COVID-19"
- The Intercept, "Inside Rikers: An Account of the Virus-Stricken Jail From a Man Who Managed to Get Out"
- Albany Times Union, "Advocates protest outside governor's mansion"
- NY Daily News, "NYS Parole Board faces backlog of up to 400 cases, one commissioner out due to coronavirus"
- The Nation, "The Devastating Emotional Toll of Suspending Prison Visits"
- CityLimits, "Opinion: Cuomo’s Next Task as a National Leader is to Spare Prisoners from COVID-19"
- The Guardian, "I am a prisoner in New York State. I am asking Governor Cuomo for compassion"
- The City, "State Prison Virus Cases Mounting as Outside Figures Plateau"
- The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, "Coronavirus: New York is releasing aging prisoners as COVID-19 spreads. Is it enough?"
- Truthout, "As Coronavirus Spreads Through Prisons, States Are Failing Incarcerated People?"
- NPR, "'You Just Get Written Off': One Inmate On Life On Rikers During The Pandemic"
- NY Daily News, "Who gets out: NYC and state jails and prisons should release nonviolent offenders and those who present minimal risk on the outside"
- The Marshall Project, "Court Is Closed Due to Coronavirus. But You Still Owe Those Fines and Fees."
- NY1, "NYPD to Begin Officer Temperature Checks Next Week"
- NY Post, "Upstate inmates forced to clean up after coronavirus patients: ‘We’re scared’"
- The New York Review of Books, "‘How Can I Keep My Family Safe?’: Worrying for My Clients on Rikers"
- North Country Public Radio, "NYS Prisons: Older inmates with three months left may be released early"
- The Marshall Project, "Coronavirus is Keeping Prison Families From Saying Their Last Goodbyes"
- Amsterdam News, "Criminal justice activists blast Cuomo over bail reform"
- The Marshall Project, "Infected, Incarcerated—and Coming to an ICU Near You?"
- The New York Times, "Justice Dept. Watchdog to Inspect Prisons Amid Virus Spread"
- New York Daily News, "Release many more people from prison now, Gov. Cuomo"
- The Nation, "You Can't Police Your Way to Public Health"
- The Appeal, "Emptying Prisons to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus Will Save Lives on the Outside, Too"
- US News & World Report, "For Prisoners Released Due to COVID-19, a Different World Awaits"
- The Marshall Project, “Covid Breached the Wall and Killed A Man Yesterday”
- The Auburn Citizen, "More employees, inmates sickened as COVID-19 spreads in NY prisons"
- The Appeal, "A Public Health Focus on Coronavirus Shouldn’t Sideline Overdose Prevention Efforts"
- Newsday, "NY not yet moving to release short-time, vulnerable inmates"
- NY Daily News, "Mr. President, let vulnerable people out of federal prisons now: Coronavirus demands a bold response"
- The Crime Report, "Hostages Behind Bars: Why COVID-19 Fuels Tension in Prisons"
- The New York Times, "‘Pacing and Praying’: Jailed Youths Seek Release as Virus Spreads"
- The New Yorker, "The Purgatory of Parole Incarcerations During the Coronavirus Crisis"
- The New York Times, "'It's a Time Bomb': 23 Die as Virus Hits Packed Homeless Shelters"
- Vice, "Advocates Urge Cuomo to Grant Clemencies Before Prison Outbreak Worsens"
- Spectrum News, "Advocates Urge Cuomo To Release Vulnerable Inmates in New York"
- The Nation, "Freezing Jail Cells, Broken Showers, and Covid-19"
- The City, "Second Rikers Island Inmate Dies of Covid-19 After Failed Bid to Spring Him"
- Gotham Gazette, "Where Governor Cuomo is Turning a Blind Eye to Coronavirus Spread and Must Take Life-Saving Action Now"
- The Marshall Project, "I Was a PrisonHospice Aide. Then Came Coronavirus."
- New York Daily News, "Ex-prisoner fears coronavirus rampant at Brooklyn federal lockup, says early release likely saved his life"
- The Auburn Citizen, "COVID-19 behind bars — a threat to all"
- Law 360, "NY Prisons' Uneven COVID-19 Testing Puts Inmates At Risk"
- The Appeal, "Parole Violations Nearly Sentenced These People to Covid-19"
- New York Daily News, "More than half of NYC inmates have been exposed to coronavirus, watchdog reports"
- The Appeal, "The Covid-19 Prison Disaster Is No Longer Hypothetical"
- Spectrum News, "Wife of Husband in Otisville Prison Says Conditions in Facility Amid COVID-19 Are Dire"
- The New York Times, "How Coronavirus at Rikers Puts All of NYC at Risk"
- The Marshall Project, "I Was at Rikers While Coronavirus Spread. Getting Out Was Just as Surreal."
- The Auburn Citizen, "Prisoner advocates, inmates ask for COVID-19 safety measures"
- The Crime Report, "Frozen-in-Place Courts Worry Defense Lawyers"
- The Appeal, "At the Center of the Coronavirus Pandemic, People Inside NYC Jails Describe Fear, Confusion and a Lack of Supplies"
- The Auburn Citizen, "More COVID-19 cases in NY prisons, groups urge Cuomo to release high-risk inmates"
- The Marshall Project, "I’ve Served Time in Prison. Sheltering in Place is Terrifying"
- The Marshall Project, "How 27 Years in Prison Prepared Me for Coronavirus"
- Vox, "Covid-19 is disproportionately taking black lives"
- Slate, "Rikers Reports First Coronavirus Death as Legal Aid Calls for Prisoner Release"
- New York Daily News, "Citing lack of masks and soap, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez fears Brooklyn federal jail is ‘powder keg of coronavirus infection’"
- WGRZ Buffalo, "17 Erie County inmates to be released early due to COVID-19"
- Albany Times Union, "Prison advocates want Cuomo to do more to protect inmates from coronavirus"
- Time, "New York's Rikers Island Jail Sees First Inmate Death From COVID-19?"
- The City, "First Rikers Virus-Positive Fatality Was Jailed on Technicality"
- The Marshall Project, "A New Tactic To Fight Coronavirus: Send The Homeless From Jails To Hotels"
- The Appeal, "People Held in New York Prison Say They Face Abuse after Guard in Their Unit Tested Positive for Covid-19"
- The Marshall Project, "Probation and Parole Officers Are Rethinking Their Rules As Coronavirus Spreads"
- The City, "State Prisoners Punished for Wearing Masks as City Jails Ok Them"
- Huffpost, "At-Risk Group Sues To Get The Release From Rikers They Were Promised"
- North County Public Radio, "Gov Cuomo upgrades COVID-19 security in state prisons"
- Poz, "Over 150 Health Experts Urge Cuomo to Release Prisoners at Risk for COVID-19"
- Brookings, "After COVID-19, we must invest in—not isolate—our most vulnerable communities"
- Vox, "Why people are being released from jails and prisons during the pandemic"
- The Appeal, "The Pandemic Exposes the Shared Fates of the Jailed and the Jailer"
- New York Daily News, "Releasing prisoners isn’t being soft on crime: An important policing realization in the age of coronavirus"
- The Appeal, "With Prison Visitation Suspended Due to Covid-19, Families of Incarcerated People Say Phone Calls Should Be Free"
- New York Daily News, "Coronavirus continues to spread in NYC jails despite dwindling inmate population"
- Gothamist/WNYC, "Sing Sing Prison Inmate With Coronavirus Dies As Defense Lawyers Demand Release Of Vulnerable Prisoners"
- The Auburn Citizen, "DOCCS: NY correction officers will be allowed to wear masks on duty"
- New York Daily News, "Feds must report coronavirus numbers in city’s jails, Brooklyn judge orders
- Forbes, "Federal Defenders Request Attorney General Barr To Act On Inmate Release Re COVID-19?"
- Democracy Now, "Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The U.S. Prison Pandemic?"
- The Marshall Project, "Coronavirus Restrictions Stoke Tensions in Lock-ups Across U.S."
- Albany Times Union, "State to provide masks for prison officers, quarantined inmates"
- New York Magazine, "‘We’re Going to All Start Dropping’: Rikers Inmates on Life as Prisoners of COVID-19"
- The Daily Star, "State relents, lets prison staffers wear medical masks on job"
- HuffPost, "Death At Sing Sing Prison Spreads Coronavirus Panic Among Those Inside"
- The City, "Call for Cuomo to Free Ailing Prisoners as Virus Spreads"
- The Marshall Project, "Freed From Prison After 26 Years—Into a Coronavirus Hotspot"
- New York Daily News, "Curing our epidemic of incarceration: Learning to let more New Yorkers out of prison, during and after the coronavirus crisis"
- Newsday, "If we want to stop Covid-19, we can't forget the incarcerated"
- The Marshall Project, "Why Jails Are So Important in the Fight Against Coronavirus"
- City Limits, "Broad Clemency Sought as COVID Hits State Prisons"
- The Atlantic, "Let People Out of Jail"
- The Buffalo News, "Don’t forget the prisoners"
- The New York Times, "'We're Left for Dead': Fears of Virus Catastrophe at Rikers Jail"
- The Progressive, "New York's Prisons Called 'Death Camps' in the Making"
- The Appeal, "Coronavirus Prompts Urgent Calls for Minors in Detention to Be Released"
- New York Daily News, "We can’t roll back bail reform now: Coronavirus proves the wisdom of the Legislature’s fix"
- Buzzfeed News, "People Are Bailing Out Inmates From New York City's Biggest Jail, Where The Coronavirus Outbreak Is Skyrocketing"
- ABC News, "Shampoo, watery soap to disinfect: Conditions on Rikers Island during COVID-19 unsafe, some inmates say"
- The New York Times, "A Health Crisis, as Seen From Inside a Prison"
- The Marshall Project, "How Is The Justice System Responding to the Coronavirus? It Depends On Where You Live."
- Reuters, "Spread of coronavirus accelerates in U.S. jails and prisons"
- The Intercept, "The Coronavirus Pandemic Makes the Case for Criminal Justice Reform"
- The Marshall Project, "How Bill Barr’s COVID-19 Prisoner Release Plan Could Favor White People"
- The Appeal, "A Public Health Doctor and Head of Corrections Agree: We Must Immediately Release People From Jails and Prisons"
- The Appeal, "Our Leaders Have the Power to Release People in Prison. Now They Must Use It."
- Prison Policy Initiative, "Five ways the criminal justice system could slow the pandemic"
- The Washington Post, "‘Disaster waiting to happen’: Thousands of inmates released as jails and prisons face coronavirus threat"
- CDC, "Interim Guidance on Management of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Correctional and Detention Facilities"
- Legal Aid Society, "Legal Aid Files Lawsuit to Release 116 Incarcerated New Yorkers at a high risk of COVID-19"
- The New Yorker, "A Rikers Island Doctor Speaks Out to Save Her Elderly Patients from the Coronavirus"
- The New York Times, "We Are Not a Hospital: A Prison Braces for Coronavirus"
- The New York Post, "NYC to begin releasing inmates amid coronavirus outbreak"
- The Journal News, "Clemency is needed for incarcerated New Yorkers vulnerable to coronavirus"
- The Washington Post, "We Must Release Prisoners to stop the spread of coronavirus"
- New York Magazine, "Will Rikers Island Free Inmates Because of the Coronavirus?"
- NY Times, "An Epicenter of the Pandemic Will Be Jails and Prisons, if Inaction Continues"
- Huffington Post, "The Only Way To Protect Elderly Prisoners From Coronavirus Is To Release Them"
- The New Yorker, "How Prisons and Jails Can Respond to the Coronavirus"
- NPR, "Prisons And Jails Worry About Becoming Coronavirus 'Incubators"
- Letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, "Plan for Combatting COVID-19 in NYC Jails and Other Lock-up Facilities"