Vaccines required when Pa. prison work release resumes

"We're not forcing them into it," said York County Sheriff Rich Keuerleber


By Matt Enright
The York Dispatch
        
YORK, Pa. — York County Prison will require inmates participating in work release to have the COVID-19 vaccine.

The decision was made at Wednesday's prison board meeting.

Work release is scheduled to resume Aug. 23 after being halted due to the pandemic, Warden Adam Ogle told the board. The decision to require vaccines came after consultation with medical staff at the prison.

An incarcerated individual at the Bolivar County Correctional Facility in Mississippi receives a covid-19 vaccination in April 2021.
An incarcerated individual at the Bolivar County Correctional Facility in Mississippi receives a covid-19 vaccination in April 2021. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/TNS)

"If somebody is in the voluntary work release program and they end up getting COVID, they'll potentially have to shut down the entire work release area," Ogle said. "We're trying to avoid that. We're also trying to avoid spread in the community."

Several wardens across Pennsylvania are requiring vaccines before work release, Ogle said. That includes Cumberland County.

County Commissioner Julie Wheeler asked if the general population was going to be required to have vaccines. Ogle said general population would still have the option to not receive the vaccine.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections does not have a policy on vaccines for work release, Ogle noted.

"We're not forcing them into it; it's just one of the requirements if they choose to go on work release," York County Sheriff Rich Keuerleber said at the meeting. "I think we're giving them the choice. They don't have to get it, but if that's a requirement to be on out, I think we're OK with that as far as the legal standard."
     
(c)2021 The York Dispatch (York, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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