MEMPHIS, Tenn. The Shelby County Sheriff’s office used social media to announce the dismissal of a COVID-19 class action lawsuit filed last year. But what exactly does that mean for the inmates in prison?
The lawsuit was filed in May 2020 on behalf of half a dozen inmates who claimed the county did not fight the spread of the virus. In April, 155 inmates tested positive and 37 employees tested positive. at 201 poplar.
A FOX13 report detailed that the lawsuit called for immediate action to protect those who are medically vulnerable, including those with disabilities who are incarcerated in prison at high risk of serious injury or death from COVID-19.
The two inmates named wanted to represent all current and future medically vulnerable remand inmates in prison who are at high risk of serious infection or death from COVID-19.
While it was being released, the ACLU told FOX13 that it had come after a lengthy settlement process.
“The agreement, approved by the court on April 9, 2021, guarantees that the prison will conduct strict surveillance and reporting. additional prison inspections; improved airflow and ventilation measures to protect people from airborne COVID-19 transmission; Better quality protective equipment for those held in prison; Continue efforts to accelerate the release of people with disabilities and the medically vulnerable; improved social distancing; and other enhancements that better protect the people who live and work in the facility, ”said ACLU of Tennessee.
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The settlement also includes the appointment of an independent prison inspector.
In the report, which can be read in full here, the inspector recommended:
- Reduce the prison population by 50%
- “Shelby County Prison and Wellpath should create a comprehensive, culturally literate vaccine education program for current and future inmates that shows the inmate population that the vaccines are safe and effective.
- “An inmate’s financial ability to issue a bond should be considered, as well as whether they pose a current threat to public safety when dismissal decisions, bond decisions, and placements are made in structured and monitored settings in the community.”
The SCSO press release states: “The detainees and their lawyers have previously agreed to waive any payments or fees, with the exception of certain costs. The final action to be taken according to the consent decree is to offer and administer the COVID-19 vaccine to inmates. “
Vaccinations for 201 poplar trees
Either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will be given to every inmate who requested it on Thursday April 15.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not be given after U.S. health officials called for its use to be interrupted as officials investigate blood clots reported in six people who received the vaccine.
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According to the SCSO, detainees will receive training materials on the vaccine and will know that no punitive action will be taken in connection with their decisions.
In the future, when booking, all detainees will be asked if they would like to be vaccinated, and detainees who previously refused the vaccine can change their minds and be scheduled for vaccinations.
The Sheriff’s Office said it will continue to follow advice and guidelines from the CDC, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the Shelby County Department of Health to keep everyone safe at our facilities.