MONTGOMERY, Ala. — With Alabama trailing the nation in COVID-19 vaccinations, infections rising, and the governor refusing incentives to encourage more people to get shots, state prisons are offering $5 canteen credits to inmates to encourage more inoculations.
The Department of Corrections, which said less than half of its more than 24,000 inmates have been vaccinated, is offering the canteen “grab bag” to inmates who get vaccinations and those who’ve already received shots, spokeswoman Kristi Simpson said.
Items like snacks, candy, and personal hygiene products typically are offered to inmates in prison stores.
“Facility wardens (have) also been authorized to provide other incentives to encourage staff and inmates to receive a vaccination at their respective facilities,” she said in an email to The Associated Press.
Nearly all of the latest infections and deaths are among people who have not been vaccinated, health officials have said.
Gov. Kay Ivey has opposed incentives to encourage members of the general public to get shots, saying instead that “common sense” should be enough for people to get the free shots. A spokeswoman didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment on the prison incentives.