51 additional people released from Rikers Island due to underlying health concern

FILE - This June 20, 2014 file photo shows the Rikers Island jail complex in New York with the Manhattan skyline in the background. New York City lawmakers are considering a plan to close the notorious Rikers Island jail complex and replace it with four smaller jails. The City Council is set to vote Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 on a plan to build the jails that would replace Rikers. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(CNN)The Legal Aid Society won the release of 51 individuals detained at Rikers Island on non-criminal, technical parole violations due to their age or underlying medical conditions, according to an order and a press release provided by Legal Aid.

The violations of which they are accused include missing a curfew, failing to report, or failing to notify their parole officer of an address change among other things, the press release said.
The suit, filed in the New York State Supreme Court in Bronx County, is the fourth complaint filed by Legal Aid.
In the order dated Monday, Justice Ralph Fabrizio writes, "The seriousness of this health crisis in terms of this writ was tragically and dramatically demonstrated even before the parties appeared for their virtual court appearance at 9:30 a.m. on April 8, 2020," when a local New York City paper reported a detainee had died at Rikers as a result of Covid-19 complications.
    The order noted that the inmate named in the newspaper report was one of the petitioners in the writ. The Department of Corrections directed CNN to the New York City Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice for comment. That office referred CNN to the New York City Law Department for comment.
    "We applaud today's ruling which will free more of our vulnerable clients held in custody on non-criminal technical parole violations from Rikers Island, the epicenter of Covid-19," said Corey Stoughton, Attorney-in-Charge of the Special Litigation Unit with the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. "If not for Governor Cuomo's lack of action and leadership, these New Yorkers should have been released weeks ago back to their families and communities. As long as Governor Cuomo and others in government continue to mishandle this unfolding humanitarian crisis at our jails and prisons, we will fervently utilize the court and litigate to secure our clients' freedom."
      CNN reached out to Cuomo's office for comment. Last week, his office told The New York Times that the state has been quickly moving to release non-violent inmates who are at greater risk of contracting coronavirus.
      Legal Aid says it has secured the release of more than 210 individuals through mass writ filings and individual motions.