States Offer Perks to Inmates who Get the Covid-19 Vaccine

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Route Fifty on 2/1/2021 by Kate Elizabeth Queram

North Carolina is the latest state to offer incentives—commissary credits, bonus visits and early release—to motivate inmates to receive vaccination shots.

Most inmates in North Carolina’s state prisons will be eligible for a sentence reduction that would shave five days off their remaining time if they opt to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, officials said Friday.

More than two-thirds of the state’s inmates qualify for the early release program. Prisoners who aren’t eligible for the sentence reduction credit would receive a $5 bonus to their canteen balance, officials said, and every inmate who receives the vaccine will also receive a free 10-minute phone call and four extra visitation sessions with friends or family members.

“We believe we’ve put together a high-impact package that is going to support the health of our offender population—and also the health of our staff and their families,” Todd Ishee, commissioner of the state’s prisons, said on a media call Friday.