The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has started a program to entice inmates to get the coronavirus vaccine, offering rewards such as snacks and commissary packages.

Lt. Latoya Gray, a spokesperson for the department, said even though vaccinations aren’t mandatory, getting as many inmates vaccinated as possible is a “very high priority,” Maryland Matters reported.

Gray said the packages contain snack foods such as rice, cookies, crackers and chips.

Department Secretary Robert L. Green, responding to a letter from state Sen. Jill Carter (D-Baltimore City) and Del. David Moon (D-Montgomery County), said his agency will offer commissary packages to those who opt to get vaccinated, Maryland Matters reported.

Vaccines are now available to all incarcerated individuals 16 and older, Green said in the letter.

As of Wednesday, 8,616 inmates in the state have received their first shot and 5,005 have received their second, with 17,354 eligible to be vaccinated, according to the department’s online tracker.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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