BINGHAMTON—Community members brought Binghamton’s annual Columbus Day Parade to a halt Monday, to protest the inhumane and deadly conditions of the Broome County Jail. The jail, which also serves as an ICE detention center, is responsible for at least 10 inmate deaths since 2011—a rate over 4 times the state average.
A total of 4 protesters were arrested from the diverse group — which included BU students, government employees, senior citizens, and activists. You can contribute to their legal fund here.
The goal of Monday’s action was to stop the festivities for a full 10 minutes—one minute for each life lost—and bring attention to the treatment of incarcerated individuals and detainees in the facility. Today’s protestors referred to the record-breaking number of deaths at the Broome County Jail as the “Broome County Genocide.”
Nationally, Black and Indigenous people are more likely to fall victim to state violence— including death by police and incarceration. In Broome County, Black residents are 10 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. Broome County currently boasts the highest incarceration rate in New York State.
Abuse and denial of basic medical care are common occurrences at the jail, which have lead to deaths and, in some cases, permanent disabilities—and often result in civil litigations and/or settlements.
As recently as January, a man named Robert Card was released from the jail to Wilson Hospital after being denied vital treatment by jail staff. He was deemed brain dead upon arrival and died shortly after.
Last month, another Broome County inmate, Rodney McPherson, nearly died before being rushed to the Clark Burn Center Intensive Care Unit of Upstate University Hospital (UUH) in Syracuse, after sustaining life-threatening chemical burns to most of his body. The burns were the result of medical malpractice and neglect on the part of the jail’s contracted medical provider—Correctional Medical Care (CMC).
These most recent examples demonstrate the larger pattern of deadly and life-altering abuse taking place at the facility. In August, nearly 200 protestors took to the jail to rally and demand justice for those killed or harmed by the practices being enacted and tolerated by County officials, administrators, and staff alike.
Today’s action is a continuation of the public unrest and outcry in response to ongoing human rights violations existing within the Broome County Jail. Community members, constituents, and survivors have re-issued the following demands to State and local arbiters of the facility:
Reduce the jail population by at least 70% by implementing fully the new state law effectively ending cash bail, providing ample community treatment facilities and other substantive alternatives to incarceration, and prioritizing the release of individuals requiring treatment for substance use and/or mental health issues
Immediately end the use of punitive solitary and isolated confinement, including confinement in medical solitary, for all incarcerated individuals
End all profit-driven practices exploiting incarcerated individuals and their loved ones. These practices include—but are not limited to—charging exorbitant fees for telecommunications; generating illegal profits on commissary purchases, haircuts, and hygiene supplies; and charging individuals for their own solitary confinement
End the practice of importing incarcerated persons from neighboring counties, and detaining undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers on behalf of the Federal government—including and especially the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Terminate the services of Correctional Medical Care (CMC), who have consistently and fatally failed to administer adequate medical treatment to incarcerated individuals
Ensure assistive medical equipment is available to disabled individuals housed in the facility, including glasses, hearing aid batteries, walkers, prosthetic devices, wheelchairs, etc., immediately upon admission
Ensure that humane, medically-assisted detox is readily available to all incarcerated individuals
Immediately provide new and/or sanitary clothing and undergarments to all incarcerated individuals, to reduce the spread of infectious diseases prevalent in the facility, and subsequently impacting our community
Provide incarcerated persons with applications for public services at least 45 days before their release, to allow for assisted re-entry and reduce recidivism
Cease the use of Trinity Services Group, and all privatized food service providers, and the distribution of food products unfit for human consumption to incarcerated individuals
Implement weekend visitation, and increase hours of visitation allotted for all incarcerated individuals
Provide all voting-eligible individuals held in the facility access to voter registration and absentee ballots, affording them their constitutional right to vote
Implement public hearings on the medical and health concerns in the jail, with the aim of creating a public oversight body comprised of independent medical experts, the formerly incarcerated, and impacted community members