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A federal judge gave California officials two weeks Issue compulsory Covid vaccinations for prison guards against the will of the state governor and the prison guards union. Inmates who leave prisons for work or receive personal visitors are also included in the mandate, reports the Sacramento Bee.
“The question of mandatory vaccines is complex” U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar wrote in the order of 22 pages. “In this case, however, the relevant facts are beyond dispute. Nobody questions the serious risks that COVID-19 poses for people in prison. “
Hundreds of inmates have died from the virus, and more than 50,000 have become infected in the state, Tigar noted in his judgment.
“We respectfully disagree with the statement of willful indifference as the department has long accepted vaccinations for COVID-19, and we encourage our staff, the incarcerated population, volunteers and visitors to continue to be vaccinated.” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement, adding that the agency is still determining the next steps. They also found that 76% of those detained were fully vaccinated, along with 57% of the staff.
“We are breaking new ground in this process,” says Gregg Adam the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which represents approximately 28,000 law enforcement officers, said the Sacramento Bee. “There is no precedent for a court to order that employees get vaccinated in order to keep their jobs under all circumstances.” The organization has vowed to fight the orders.
The verdict followed a 27-page report published in August by Recipient J. Clark Kelso on the increased risks to prisons that are placed by the Delta variant. Since the report was published, 11 prison workers have died of the disease.
Lawyers representing inmates concerned for their safety and the spread of Covid saw the order as a victory and said, “It’s pretty much all we could hope for.”