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For the workers and the inmates: hope the NYC gov’t does what is right

Swine Flu at Rikers Island Prison

I do not know exactly what is the right thing to do. But, I feel it is important to have concern for both the workers and the inmates in that prison. What a government does in times like these often effects elections, and the way cultures get remembered in history…

(excerpt from) Newsday
Swine flu at Rikers prompts call for closure
By Keith Herbert / May 16, 2009

Confirmation that an inmate at Rikers Island has swine flu sparked a correction officers union official Saturday to demand that the city close and sanitize a prison facility.

But New York City Department of Correction officials said there was no need to close the Ann M. Kross Center at Rikers Island because precautions had been taken to prevent swine flu from spreading. The Kross Center holds about 2,600 inmates.

Still, Stephen Morello, a correction department spokesman, said that inmates had been urged to cancel visits Saturday “simply as a precaution.”…

Wednesday, an inmate who came to Rikers on April 18 began complaining of fever and was transferred to a Queens hospital. On Friday, he was confirmed to have swine flu, but his condition was not serious, Morello said.

Prison officials examined 70 prisoners the inmate was in contact with in a residential section at Kross Center, which holds 600 inmates. None has swine flu, Morello said.

The housing unit was also scrubbed and sanitized, and inmate transfers have been frozen.

Seabrook said he has spoken with several correction officers who have complained of not feeling well. “I’m advising them to get a complete physical,” he said.

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