A new memo in Massachusetts will allow prisoners who opt-in to taking both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and who watch and read educational materials to be eligible for early release.
The memo was sent out on January 28th and made possible under Massachusetts state law Title XVII Section 129D, states that inmates who complete the educational requires and take vaccine are “eligible to earn deductions from sentences and completion credits, collectively known as good conduct deductions for participation in and completion of programs and activities.”
Department of Correction Commissioner Carol A. Mici called the program “Earned Good Time” and explained that after completion of the program, eligible inmates will see a seven and a half day decrease on their sentences.
“I have determined that receiving the vaccine is significantly valuable to rehabilitation and will therefore be offering Earned Good Time,” Mici wrote.
So far, over 3,500 Department of Corrections inmates have received the vaccine according to Mici.
Massachusetts isn’t the only state to offer incentives for prisoners to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Virginia Department of Corrections announced in January that it will be offering “free email stamps and telephone credits” along with packages of commissary items for all those who take the vaccine.
Corrections facilities were included as a priority towards the fight against the coronavirus after 480 health professionals signed an open letter to the CDC in December, underling the spread of the virus in prison systems and urging them to make incarcerated peoples a priority.