Uh-Oh, Cuomo! Prison Workers Say That They Are NOT Making Hand Sanitizer Touted By The Governor

Written by Wes Walker on March 27, 2020

Was Cuomo just caught in a serious lie?

Governor Cuomo held a press conference in which he blasted Purel and boasted that the State of New York was creating a far superior product for less money.

There’s only one problem with his claim. It is apparently complete and utter bulls**t.

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But according to workers at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York where the hand sanitizer is being “made,” as well as a spokesperson for the prison system, they are doing nothing more than taking existing hand sanitizer and rebottling it into packaging labeled NYS Clean.

…Cuomo claimed that the hand sanitizer would be produced by Corcraft, the public-facing brand name of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s Division of Industries. “Corcraft makes glass cleaner, floor cleaner, degreasers, laundry detergent, vehicle fluids, hand cleaner, and now they make hand sanitizer with alcohol,” Cuomo told the audience.

But according to a NYSDOCCS spokesperson, the hand sanitizer itself is being produced by an outside vendor he would not name; the Great Meadow Facility is only bottling and labeling it. Neither NYSDOCCS nor the governor’s office would respond to repeated questions about why the state would need to use prison labor to bottle hand sanitizer, nor did the governor’s office respond to questions about Cuomo’s pitch that this was a cheaper, more effective option than buying bottled hand sanitizer outright.

Buried in that story is an interesting anecdote about these prisoners working overtime in a 24/7 bottling process without actually getting any extra pay for working longer hours.

The NYS Clean-brand hand sanitizer is cheap because prison labor is cheap. A 2017 Gothamist report compared to New York prison work to “slave labor” on the grounds of the low wages Corcraft pays, coupled with the fact that inmates can legally be compelled to work and punished if they refuse. A 1998 article from the New York Times cited Corcraft employees making 32 cents an hour to work at call centers or 37 cents an hour to push thousands of pounds of dough around bakeries; wages do not seem to have meaningfully shifted since, according to data from the Prison Policy Initiative, and inmates’ own accounts.

Michael said he and the other workers on the hand sanitizer initiative are exhausted. “We’re completely overworked,” he told VICE. “They treat us like shit.” — Vice

(Refer to the Vice article for all the details we couldn’t include here.)

Here is the original story…

WATCH: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Announces State-Made Hand Sanitizer