Saturday, 13 July, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalNew York ordered to vaccinate all jail inmates

New York ordered to vaccinate all jail inmates

New York must immediately begin to offer COVID-19 vaccines to all incarcerated people in the state’s prisons and jails, The New York Times reports a judge has ruled, making the state one of few in the nation to provide doses to such a broad population behind bars. The order, the first involving any of the country’s largest correctional systems, comes as the coronavirus continues to roar through facilities in New York.

At least 1,100 people living behind prison walls have tested positive for the virus since the start of last month, and five have died. But even as corrections staff and many other groups, including some who live in close-contact settings like group homes and homeless shelters, have gained access to the vaccines in recent weeks, most incarcerated people in New York have remained ineligible to receive doses.

Justice Alison Y Tuitt, of the State Supreme Court in the Bronx, wrote in her ruling that people in prisons and jails had been arbitrarily left out of the rollout and that doing so was “unfair and unjust” and an “abuse of discretion”. State officials, she said, “irrationally distinguished between incarcerated people and people living in every other type of adult congregate facility, at great risk to incarcerated people’s lives during this pandemic”.

The NYT reports that a disproportionate number of inmates are Black and Latino, groups that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Full report in The New York Times (Restricted access)

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