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Prisons: a crisis within the crisis

To the editor:

In this country, there are service sectors that some consider heroes and are added to the posters of legends. In New York state, during the 2015 manhunt for two escaped inmates, the State Police were near the top of the hero list. Any people working in the fields of medicine are today’s heroes. Next, add the store clerks in the drug and grocery stores who are keeping things going. Teachers haven’t always been at the top, but now they are sorely missed in every home where children reside.

There are some who are on the front lines, keeping life going, with dedication to duty, who are underappreciated and often forgotten about. Some of these sectors include home health aides and caregivers for the elderly, direct support professionals who work with individuals with disabilities, hospice care volunteers and hospice nurses. Corrections officers are in the forefront, working in contained spaces. Thank you to all who are in service to caring, helping and protecting others.

A common denominator within the “forgotten abouts” is working in service sectors serving or guarding people who are marginalized. During this dangerous crisis where serving agencies are overwhelmed and stressed to the maximum, these workers need help and they need attention.

As in the hospitals, there is a need for personal protective equipment.

The dedicated individuals in these helping professions deserve the support, respect and appreciation from their communities. They are your caring neighbors, who put their health on the line every time they enter their work place.

A crisis within the COVID-19 crisis is correctional services, and it is at county, state and federal levels. At the end of their work day, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, are going home to their families not knowing if they have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus until much too late.

To save individuals working in this sector, there has to be a tactical approach, with strategic intervention, that is supported with strong leadership at all levels of government with a regional approach. It cannot be managed from a desk in Albany or Washington.

Janice Fitzgerald

Lake Clear

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