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New Jersey Reportedly Offers Reduced Prison Sentences If Inmates Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

(Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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The New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) is offering inmates a 10-day reduction in their sentence if they choose to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an internal memo obtained by NJ Advance Media.

The sentence reduction is one of a number of incentives that were offered to inmates beginning last month if they get two doses of the vaccine, according to NJ.com. Among the other incentives are an “I Got Vaccinated” photo of themselves that can be shared with friends and family, a $10 commissary credit and a specialized food package.

“With the revolving door of individuals who come in and out of our system and seeing the value vaccinations play in minimizing the spread of COVID-19, we are constantly seeking innovative ways to educate and encourage individuals to get vaccinated,” DOC spokeswoman Liz Velez told NJ.com.

To date, 52 prisoners have died of COVID-19 in New Jersey prisons and more than 4,000 inmates have had the virus, giving the state one of the highest death rates in the country in its corrections system.

New York has also started offering prisoners incentives to get vaccinated, including care packages, barbeque parties and conjugal visits. (RELATED: ‘Natural Immunity Is Really Better’: New Israeli Study Fuels Debate On Vaccination Versus Natural Immunity)

The DOC does not provide the exact vaccination rate among inmates, but 11,425 doses have been administered so far, enough to fully vaccinate around half the prison population, according to NJ.com. Velez said she knows of no corrections facility that has yet reached a 70% vaccination rate.

To get the 10-day sentence reduction, inmates must also attend a three-hour class on COVID-19 and infectious disease control.