On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to combat price gouging of hand sanitizers amid the coronavirus outbreak: New York will make its own, with help from a Corrections Department agency.
In a press conference, Cuomo introduced New York State Clean, a sanitizer that will be used in state facilities and agencies.
Because of the coronavirus outbreak, sterilization products like hand sanitizer have been selling out at stores, and sites like Amazon and eBay have seen the products sell for upwards of $40.
Cuomo said New York State Clean will be made by Corcraft, which is part of the state Department of Corrections. The company uses inmates in New York state facilities to make its products.
But the plan is controversial. Some critics take issue with the use of prison labor, since Corcraft workers have historically been paid about 65 cents an hour. Others pointed to reports that some facilities don't even distribute soap and hand sanitizer to their inmates.
The risk of a coronavirus outbreak inside jails and prisons is real. China saw more than 500 cases spread out over five corrections facilities, while Iran has temporarily released 54,000 inmates as the virus spreads there.
Cuomo said a gallon of New York State Clean will cost about $6 to make and that Corcraft will produce up to 100,000 gallons a week. He said the state will distribute the sanitizer to government facilities like schools and prisons.