Federal defenders are expressing increasing frustration over what they see as a failure to adequately address the spread of the novel coronavirus in jails, even as federal lockups in Manhattan and Brooklyn reported their first confirmed cases among inmates.

The federal criminal dockets in recent days have seen an influx of filings from criminal defense attorneys, who argued that crowded and unsanitary conditions at the jails have put their clients at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, the potentially deadly respiratory illness caused by the new virus.

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