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Maryland inmates offered financial incentive to get vaccinated

Frederick County's detention center is offering snack packages to inmates who get vaccinated while incarcerated, or have already been vaccinated while in jail.

FREDERICK, Maryland — Editor's Note: The video above is from a July 29 press conference held by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. 

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) Adult Detention Center (ADC) has created a new incentive program to encourage inmates to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, 26% of the center's population is fully vaccinated, according to an FCSO spokesperson. 

Inmates who choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine while incarcerated will get $10 in snacks from the ADC canteen. For each dose of the COVID vaccine received, an inmate will receive a $10 snack package. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, while Johnson & Johnson only requires one. 

“While we cannot force inmates to get the vaccination, if we encourage them to get vaccinated with this incentive and utilize zero tax dollars to do it, then it is a good program for everyone involved,” said Major Michael Cronise, ADC assistant chief. “We hope those inmates who have not been vaccinated will jump on this incentive and take advantage of it, while they can.”

According to Todd Wivell, spokesperson for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, the detention center holds vaccine clinics twice per month for the ADC's population, which currently sits at 228 men and women. 

"131 inmates have been fully vaccinated at the ADC throughout the course of this pandemic and currently 63 of those inmates are still at the ADC," Wivell wrote in an email. 

Any inmate who already received their COVID-19 vaccines while at the detention center will also be given two of the snack packages. There is no incentive for booster shots, as of now. 

Wivell said the program is funded by proceeds from the Inmate Canteen Account, which makes money through the ADC canteen and phone systems used by inmates.

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