Published in The New York Times
By Mary Bassett, Eric Gonzalez, and Darren Walker
Dr. Bassett was the commissioner of health for New York City. Mr. Gonzalez is the district attorney of Brooklyn. Mr. Walker is the president of the Ford Foundation.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been an exemplar of leadership in this time of crisis, someone to whom other state and local officials are looking for guidance. On Friday, the governor took the crucial step of ordering the release of 1,100 people from New York’s jails and prisons. But he must do more. If we don’t act fast, we jeopardize the lives of many. Worse yet, we risk creating a uniquely deadly incubator for the virus.
America incarcerates more people than any other nation on earth—some 2.3 million people, nearly 80,000 of whom are locked up in various New York correctional facilities for young people and adults. No other country in the world faces the kind of threat gathering in our jails and prisons.
The Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
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