Mr de Blasio said on Friday that the city is committed to releasing the 191 detainees as soon as possible. In some cases, he said, it could take several days to release those who had to appear in court before they could be released.
He also said the best way to reduce the prison population was to restart the justice system completely.
“I called on the state to restart the whole criminal justice system, the justice system fully,” he said.
But Ms Clark, the Bronx District Attorney, said the staff crisis had also exacerbated the backlog of court cases. Without a sufficient number of guards, she said, defendants held in prisons do not make it to court on time, if at all.
“Now, due to the personnel issue, we have inmates charged with violence in prison who are not showing up for a timely arraignment,” Ms. Clark said.
As authorities seek to calm the chaos in the prison, virus rates among inmates appear to be increasing. Correctional health officials first reported an increase in the prevalence of the virus in mid-August, followed by a spike in cases later in the month. After active cases and prison rates fell to near zero in June and July, the seven-day average positive test rate among inmates – 4.36% this week – is now higher than the overall rate of 3. 92 of the city.
According to city data, only 36% of inmates and 37% of correctional staff are fully immunized.
“The current conditions are causing the rate of Covid-19 infection in prisons to increase rapidly. Previously effective control mechanisms such as isolation and quarantine will not be possible due to the dysfunction and overcrowding of the department, ”said Dr. Robert Cohen, member of the Board of Correction, an independent body that oversees the system. prison, during a municipal council hearing. this week.