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Suffolk ordered to release 15 parole violators to stop spread of coronavirus

New York State officials ordered Suffolk to release 15 parole violators Friday evening in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus in county jails, Sheriff Errol Toulon’s office said. 

Six Suffolk correction officers have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the sheriff’s office, which runs jails in Yaphank and Riverhead, but no inmates have been diagnosed with the virus that has infected tens of thousands of people across the state. 

Three inmates who had been in contact with one of the correction officers have been quarantined, Toulon’s office said. 

Officials at the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision could not be reached for comment late Friday. 

Public health experts and correction officials say jails are especially vulnerable because inmates, correction officers and staff share cramped spaces for long periods of time. Some public health experts and prisoner rights advocates are urging authorities to release older prisoners, defendants awaiting trial for nonviolent crimes, and those being held for probation or parole violations. 

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