ATTICA, N.Y. — In early December 2020, a COVID-19 outbreak was reported at Attica Correctional Facility.

What You Need To Know

  • Sean Ryan's been in solitary confinement in Attica for just about 27 years
  • His sister believes he was wrongly convicted
  • Ryan tested positive for COVID-19, but is doing OK

According to the Department of Corrections, solitary confinement had then also become "medical quarantine" for patients who tested positive.

On December 11, Sean Ryan's mother says he was in solitary confinement, but not for coronavirus-related reasons.

"He's in a tomb to begin with," said Arlene Normyle, Ryan's mother.

Despite concrete, Attica's solitary confinement walls and one hour of free time, during the week of December 14, Ryan became ill with COVID-19.  

“He wasn't going anywhere to expose himself. It had to come from the staff or from anyone coming in from the outside," said Heather Trentacosta, Ryan's sister.

Trentacosta says Ryan no longer has the virus, but her concerns for her brother's safety and justice don't stop there.

"He had no commissary rights, no phone rights," she explained.

Ryan was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for a 1977 burglary-murder in Manhattan.

According to court documents, while he was in prison, he was also convicted of murder and arson after setting his codefendant's cell on fire.

He was also convicted of two counts of escape from prison, and assault on staff.  

Court documents state he was put in solitary confinement, being a danger to the general prison population. He's been there for almost 27 years.

"If someone makes a mistake or does a crime and is punished, where is the room to improve if you're being tortured?" she questioned.

Trentacosta's work doesn't end there. She believes her brother was wrongfully convicted. She's now doing her own investigation and podcast called "Without Conviction." She's not only looking into Ryan's case, but others as well.  

"I want it to be exposed, not to shame, but to get these cases looked at again," said Trentacosta. "I want these men to get some type of justice."

Right now, Trentacosta's comments are alleged, but she continues to look for evidence to clear their names. In the meantime, to check out more you can visit this petition and this Facebook group.