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NYSDOCCS offers incentive program to inmates to boost vaccination rates

As an incentive for the vaccination of inmates, NYSDOCCS is offering care packages and barbeques to inmates who choose to get it.

Currently about 45% of inmates are vaccinated compared to the 70% across the state population.

Mike Powers, president of the union that represents correctional officers, says that correctional officers should be included in an incentive program too after being on the front lines during the pandemic.

Other states, like Colorado, are offering correctional officers $500 for getting the vaccine.

The program offered to inmates chooses 5 individuals who are vaccinated in each of the state’s 50 prisons and gives them care packages that include $75 of the most popular food items sold at the facility’s commissary.

Six facilities that have the highest vaccine rates will received a facility barbecue.

Organizations have differing opinions regarding the incentive program.

A spokesman for DOCCS states that the department is doing everything they can to create a safer environment, and “for the corrections officer’s union to politicize this effort and dismiss all the challenges of the past year and a half is beyond the pale.”

Theresa Grady from the Releasing Aging People from Prison Campaign is not in favor of the incentive, stating that fights can break out over these types of things due to one inmate getting the package and not another, or the idea of them ‘selling out’ to DOCCS.

Inmates who participate in the conjugal visit program must be vaccinated.