Inmates in Alabama are now being incentivized to get the COVID-19 vaccine with a $5 canteen credit.
Since the start of the pandemic, prisons have been a hotbed for the spread of the deadly virus.
Alabama is especially at risk as the number of cases increases, as the state has the lowest vaccination rate of all 50, with only 34.5% fully vaccinated, according to Mayo Clinic data.
While the $5 canteen credit appears to be working, 103 inmates have participated in the prison’s free vaccination program since the incentive was introduced.
The Alabama Department of Corrections reported that a total of 15 people had tested positive for Covid-19 as of July 30: six inmates and nine staff members. Last week, 27 people tested positive: nine inmates and 18 staff, more than four times as many as the week before.
On August 4, 1,666 inmates tested positive and 66 died of the 16,907 inmates tested in Alabama, Covid Prison Project.
Alabama Department of Corrections offers $5 canteen credit to inmates who have or have already received the Covid-19 vaccine
Since the introduction of the incentive, 103 inmates have participated in the prison’s vaccination program
Coronavirus cases are rising in Alabama prisons as highly contagious Delta strain continues to spread
Other prisons also offer initiatives for inmates to get the vaccine.
Last month, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision randomly selected vaccinated individuals to receive a care package worth up to $75. In Pennsylvania, inmates were offered $25 as commissioner credit.
But the incentives offered to inmates pale in comparison to incentive programs offered across the country.
New Yorkers vaccinated in ten designated spots were given scratch cards with prizes worth up to $5 million.
Nashville offered its citizens a range of prizes, including a pair of Nashville Predators season tickets, worth more than $5,000, while North Carolina is offering its residents $100 to vaccinate in some counties. Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department raffles backstage passes to a Gucci Mane concert.
The Yankees and Mets even offered free tickets to spectators who roll up their sleeves at the stadiums, while Vanguard Group Inc. Offering $1,000 to Workers Who Get Vaccinated in October, According to Bloomberg.
Alabama is the lowest vaccinated state of all 50 states with only 34.5% fully vaccinated
Many companies and local governments are trying to encourage people to get vaccinated
Pricing may be less impressive in prisons, but vaccinations are arguably more important because the crowded spaces are the perfect breeding ground for the virus.
In Alabama, 10,971 people in prison have now received at least one vaccination, equivalent to 43.7% of the state’s total prison population. While that number is still below the herd immunity and national numbers, it is higher than the state’s vaccination coverage.
“A confined correctional environment where social distancing is a challenge and all communicable diseases, including Covid-19, are more likely to spread is – simply put – very different from a community setting,” department spokesman Kristi Simpson told me. ABC news, which also points to the fact that detainees do not have the “liberties that free citizens have to ensure public safety.”
It comes just in time, as thousands of federal convicts were sent back to prison last month after being released from house arrest during the pandemic.
A memo from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, sent a week before Biden took office, says inmates whose sentences extend beyond the official state of emergency declared before the pandemic should be put back behind bars.
“We understand that about 40% of those inmates would have been ineligible” [for home confinement] in the absence of the emergency service’, reads the order.
The CARES Act allowed approximately 4,000 non-violent offenders to temporarily leave prison New York Times reports.
Covid-19 cases on the rise as new variants spread and vaccination coverage has slowed
As Covid-19 infections have continued to rise, so has the number of deaths in the country
As Covid-19 continues to spread, the emergency period is not expected to end this year
Recent increases in COVID cases and concerns about the Delta variant mean that the emergency period, declared in March 2020, is unlikely to end this year.
The CARES Act instructed the DOJ to allow lower-level countermeasures under house arrest to slow the spread of the virus. Then AG Barr sent the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) a memo stating strict admission standards.
Officials have reportedly insisted that the decision was made on the basis of the law, not policy.
The Biden team is reportedly hesitant to issue a general commutation about the potential political risk and concerns about interfering with DOJ policy on such a large scale.
But as a government advocating prison reform, Biden has come under intense pressure to revoke the Trump-era directive.
A letter signed by 20 advocacy groups, including the ACLU and NAACP, pleaded with Biden to commute thousands of prisoners’ sentences.
This is your chance to give a second chance to thousands of people already safe from prison, reintegrating back into society, reconnecting with their loved ones, getting a job and going back to school. in the letter sent last month.
More than two dozen House Democrats and one Republican urged Biden to “reverse the Trump administration’s cruel and misguided decision to force thousands of people currently under house arrest to return to federal prison.”
Biden’s legal team’s decision backs a memo written by the Trump DOJ during the ex-president’s last days in office. It states that federal convicts must return to prison no more than 30 days after the official emergency declaration of the pandemic ends
As a government proponent of prison reform, Biden’s White House is under intense pressure to repeal the Trump-era directive (Photo: Clinton Correction Facility in New York)
“Such a move would harm families, waste taxpayers’ money and undermine public safety.”
Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Cory Booker also sent Attorney General Merrick Garland a letter in late April urging him to revoke Trump’s DOJ policy.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa also supported the reversal in a hearing in April, citing statistics that less than 1% of criminals sent home under the CARES Act violated the terms of their house arrest. .
When asked for a statement, the White House did not name pandemic-specific regulations.
“President Biden is committed to reducing incarceration and helping people reintegrate back into society,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates told the New York Times. “As he has said, too many Americans are in prison, and too many are black and brown. His administration is focused on reforming our justice system to strengthen families, boost our economy and give people a chance for a better future.”