Woman claims incarcerated brother died of COVID-19 weeks before release from prison

A woman is speaking out against the Department of Corrections after she claims her brother, an inmate at Queensboro Correctional Facility, died from coronavirus weeks before his release.

News 12 Staff

Sep 16, 2020, 2:41 AM

Updated 1,349 days ago

Share:

A woman is speaking out against the Department of Corrections after she claims her brother, an inmate at Queensboro Correctional Facility, died from coronavirus weeks before his release.
Cynthia Carter Young says she recounts her last phone call with her brother, Leonard Eugene Carter, in March.
"He said let me get off the phone… I said well ‘I love you’ and he said ‘I love you more.’ The last thing he said to me was ‘I love you more,’” said Young.
Young says Carter was months away from leaving the facility and that he was granted parole as of May 26--but despite serving 25 years, he never made it out.
"My brother was not free until he left in a body bag,” said Young.
Carter died of coronavirus complications on April 14. His sister is holding the state DOC responsible, saying they didn't do enough to protect her brother from the disease.
Carter had two key factors to be considered high risk. He was 60 and had a history of emphysema.
"The Department of Corrections knew this. They know he was being tested for it. Sometimes he had to leave the facility and get treated at the hospital,” said Young.
On March 27, in an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in New York state prisons, the DOC and community supervision started to release low-level offenders from their facilities.
The DOC tells News 12 the criteria they are using to release inmates are:
- Inmates who are within 90 days of release
- Anyone who does not pose an undue risk to public safety
- Not serving time for an A-1 or an A-2 on-drug offense, any Class-B through E felonies, or sex offenders
Carter met all of the early release requirements but was held because he was serving time on a second-degree murder charge, which is considered an A-1 offense.
Phil Desgranges is a senior staff attorney at New York Civil Liberties Union-- who has been pushing for more inmates waiting to be released on parole.
He says if an inmate has served their time and is believed no longer to be a risk to the public, they shouldn't be held.
He says the DOC’s decision to no longer use age as a criterion for early release, although their original criteria included individuals 55 years of age and over, is a dangerous one.
"The state has used an extremely limited criteria that's prevented people like Mr. Carter from being released earlier and avoiding contracting COVID-19,” said Desgranges.
Young says she’s hopeful the DOC will expand their criteria and that her brother’s case has served a lesson.
"I don't want to see some other family go through what we went through. I can't get my brother back but why should we go through this. We shouldn't accept this,” said Young.


More from News 12
2:31
Storm Watch: Severe storms possible with heavy rain, strong wind and hail across New York City

Storm Watch: Severe storms possible with heavy rain, strong wind and hail across New York City

Large tree falls on 2 parked cars on Metcalf Avenue; no injuries

Large tree falls on 2 parked cars on Metcalf Avenue; no injuries

0:24
Bruce Springsteen postpones 2 more shows due to vocal issues

Bruce Springsteen postpones 2 more shows due to vocal issues

0:50
Police: Woman attacked on the border of Bronx and Yonkers, suspect sought

Police: Woman attacked on the border of Bronx and Yonkers, suspect sought

2:09
Kane In Your Corner: What to do if you’ve been a victim of identity theft

Kane In Your Corner: What to do if you’ve been a victim of identity theft

1:46
Final days of the Concourse Plaza Multiplex Cinemas

Final days of the Concourse Plaza Multiplex Cinemas

Guide: 2024 Memorial Day Parades in New York City

Guide: 2024 Memorial Day Parades in New York City

0:31
NYPD: Woman charged with murder following fatal stabbing of man in Mount Hope

NYPD: Woman charged with murder following fatal stabbing of man in Mount Hope

Wennberg scores in OT, Rangers top Panthers 5-4 to take lead in East finals

Wennberg scores in OT, Rangers top Panthers 5-4 to take lead in East finals

1:02
152nd Street Culture Festival celebrates Puerto Rican pride ahead of national parade

152nd Street Culture Festival celebrates Puerto Rican pride ahead of national parade

1:19
Bronx Historical Society offers Mott Haven walking tour, screening of ‘Up Jump The Boogie’

Bronx Historical Society offers Mott Haven walking tour, screening of ‘Up Jump The Boogie’

1:32
Bronx Fashion Week premieres Decade of Dreams at Baychester show

Bronx Fashion Week premieres Decade of Dreams at Baychester show

1:58
Mayor’s office: Burglars arrested, massive illegal cannabis distributor busted in Brooklyn

Mayor’s office: Burglars arrested, massive illegal cannabis distributor busted in Brooklyn

2:08
Blood test that detects colon cancer close to receiving FDA approval

Blood test that detects colon cancer close to receiving FDA approval

0:32
NYPD: 2 suspects wanted for stabbing woman in face in Mount Hope

NYPD: 2 suspects wanted for stabbing woman in face in Mount Hope

1:34
Crown Heights double dutch team heads to world championships next month

Crown Heights double dutch team heads to world championships next month

1:58
Loved ones say goodbye to 88-year-old grandmother killed in East Flatbush fire

Loved ones say goodbye to 88-year-old grandmother killed in East Flatbush fire

0:22
NYPD: Man fatally shot in Mount Hope

NYPD: Man fatally shot in Mount Hope

0:47
Update: Police identify victims in fatal Kingsbridge Heights shooting

Update: Police identify victims in fatal Kingsbridge Heights shooting

1:49
Brother calls on Fordham neighborhood to help find  missing sister who is intellectually disabled

Brother calls on Fordham neighborhood to help find missing sister who is intellectually disabled