UPDATED 6:45 PM PT – Thursday, February 4, 2021
A federal judge in Oregon made a controversial ruling to provide COVID vaccines to prisoners before senior citizens and teachers. In a recent ruling, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman sided with the Oregon Justice Resource Center in its class-action lawsuit, which alleged inmates are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
The lawsuit cited the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment to inmates. The judge ordered inmates to be included in ‘Phase 1A’ of the COVID vaccine distribution plan in Oregon. Gov. Katie Brown (D-Ore.) said the state will not appeal the ruling.
A hearing took place today following our motion asking the court to compel Oregon DOC to offer vaccination to all in custody who want it: AND IT’S JUST BEEN GRANTED! This will be a tremendous relief to so many people inside and their loved ones. #COVID19 #orpol pic.twitter.com/pi4uBeJAzK
— Oregon Justice Resource Center (@OJRCenter) February 3, 2021
“Over 50% of the folks are living within dormitory housing in the DOC,” Oregon Justice Resource Center Director Juan Chavez said. “That’s a recipe for disease spread.”
The COVID Prison Project reported 3,400 coronavirus cases and more than 40 deaths among Oregon prisoners.
Childcare providers and teachers are currently eligible to receive vaccines, while seniors over 80 must wait until February 8.