Two Rikers inmates with COVID-19 sent to NY prison: union

An upstate prison that had been free of COVID-19 knowingly admitted two inmates infected with the virus after Gov. Kathy Hochul ordered them transferred from Rikers Island — and another tested positive the next day, The Post has learned.

All three — along with 24 others — are now quarantined inside the Ulster County Correctional Facility to try to prevent the disease from spreading, said Chris Moreau, vice president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association.

“The facility was aware and they accepted [the] inmates anyway,” Moreau said Wednesday evening.

“This was a clean facility.”

Three buses carrying a total of 37 Rikers inmates arrived at the medium-security lockup in Napanoch on Monday, Moreau said, following Hochul’s announcement last week that she was ordering around 200 transfers to try to stem the out-of-control violence and chaos at the city’s infamous jail complex.

“Their medical records are sent to Ulster prior to their arrival from Rikers,” Moreau said.

In regard to the two infected inmates, he said, “Those records indicated that they were positive.”

“I think that this was a mishap,” Moreau said.

“It wasn’t on the executive level…This was a mishap on the facility level. But it really highlights the need for an attention to detail.”

The Ulster County Correctional Facility knowingly accepted the two inmates who tested positive for COVID-19.
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He added: “We need to vet these guys better when they’re coming out of the city.”

In a statement earlier Wednesday, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said, “DOCCS is not knowingly accepting individuals who are positive.”

DOCCS, which also said the transfers were still underway, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the situation at the Ulster County Correctional Facility.

In addition to the transfers, Hochul also ordered the immediate release of 191 Rikers inmates serving time for “technical” parole violations, such as missing appointments with their parole officers, breaking curfew or testing positive for illegal drugs or alcohol.

Under the “Less Is More Act” that Hochul signed Friday — and which officially goes into effect on March 1 — those violations will no longer result in ex-cons getting locked up again.

Hochul said she needed to act immediately to address the crisis at Rikers.