To better keep corrections officers and their families safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Michael Testa (R-1) called to enact a variety of measures to help slow the spread in state prisons.
“New Jersey is not doing enough to keep our corrections officers safe from coronavirus,” said the South Jersey Republican. “While hundreds of inmates are free to go, corrections officers still must show up to work, day in and day out, to maintain the safety and security of our communities. Enhancing precautionary measures against this evolving pandemic, such as enacting smarter social distancing policies, will keep officers and their loved ones at home safe from COVID-19.”
Testa proposed multiple courses of action to help keep New Jersey’s state corrections officers safe, including:
1. Implement better social distancing.
2. Stop prison transfers from North Jersey to Cumberland County.
3. Stop unnecessary gym time.
Cumberland County has one of the highest inmate populations within New Jersey.
The President of PBA Local 105, William Sullivan, expressed similar sentiments. In a press release, he recently stated, “We walk the states toughest beat serving behind the walls of our state institutions. We cannot afford to have a major outbreak in our prisons. They need to secure our facilities ceasing all transfers and reducing movements to a bare minimum to protect not only our officers but the inmates we are tasked with the care and custody of.”
“When corrections officers leave work and go home, they are potentially exposing their families to whatever diseases they come in contact with, including COVID-19,” added Testa. “We need to do everything in our power to keep our corrections officers out of harm’s way. Implementing common-sense safety measures in state prisons, such as restricting the movement of prisoners, will help prevent the unnecessary spread of coronavirus.”