Hawaii offers $ 25 to inmates who receive COVID reminder

By KIM JARRETT
THE ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF THE SQUARE CENTER

(The Center Square) – Hawaii Department of Public Safety officials are offering inmates $ 25 if they receive their COVID-19 booster shots.

The incentive is in addition to the $ 50 that inmates can receive if they are fully immunized, according to a press release from the DPS. Inmates who were in custody from March 3, 2021 to December 31, 2024, are eligible for the incentives, according to the press release.

The money is deposited into the inmate expense account. Incentives are not available to government employees.

Funding for the incentive program comes from the American Rescue Plan Act. The DPS spent $ 146,400 of the $ 615,000 requested for the program, according to the press release.

“The ongoing goal of this initiative is to vaccinate as many inmates as possible,” said Tommy Johnson, deputy director of corrections. “This will help ensure their health and safety, as well as that of our dedicated staff.” “

The initial incentive program began on October 14. The number of fully vaccinated inmates fell from 2,530 to 3,916 in the first two months of the program, according to a December 15 press release from the DPS.

The DPS was asked about the COVID-19 protocol in its prisons. A group of inmates filed a complaint against the DPS in April, saying state corrections officials were not doing enough to prevent COVID-19 infections in prisons.

The lawsuit was settled in September. Part of the settlement agreement required the DPS to establish a five-person agreement oversight committee to guide the DPS in its response to COVID-19.

Current statistics show that 3,030 inmates held in state correctional facilities have tested positive for COVID-19, and nine have died during the pandemic.

The recall call comes as COVID-19 cases increase due to the more contagious omicron variant.

The largest outbreak is at the Oahu Community Correctional Center, where 42 of 159 inmates tested were positive, according to figures included in the press release. Three of the 69 staff members tested were also positive.

Twenty-three out of 100 inmates tested last week tested positive for the OCCC, and two staff members tested positive, according to information posted on the DPS Facebook page.

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