SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Massachusetts Department of Corrections was going to offer inmates reduced sentences if they received the COVID-19 vaccine. But the Baker administration has just rescinded the offer.
A local defense attorney told Western Mass News the state's DOC said those who get the vaccine could receive seven and a half days off their sentence. But Western Mass News has just learned that the Baker administration is now taking that offer off the table.
In a letter sent to inmates last week, obtained by Western Mass News, the state's DOC said they are offering seven and a half days of extra earned time to state prisoners who receive both doses of the vaccine. They also would have to watch and read educational videos about the shot.
But Wednesday night, the Baker administration is blocking that incentive.
A spokesperson for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security released a statement to Western Mass News on the decision, saying:
“When the governor’s office became aware of the memo, the decision was made to rescind it because the memo is not consistent with the administration’s policies regarding reduced prison terms.”
But defense attorney Jared Olanoff told Western Mass News this was something to encourage inmates to get the vaccine and protect the public at large.
"When inmates contract a virus, that spreads to the staff, and when staff contracts the virus, that spreads to their families, and when it spreads to their families, it spreads to the community," he noted.
Inmates announced among the first eligible for a coronavirus vaccine in Phase 1. The DOC said more than 3,500 inmates received the first shot.