Should inmates get vaccinated? Why Illinois makes it a priority


ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. – Some local jails have the difficult job of getting inmates vaccinated. You Paid for It spoke with officials at the St. Clair County Jail where only 149 out of the 522 inmates are vaccinated.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker made vaccinating the inmates a priority. For one, they’re in such proximity to each other. Plus, unvaccinated inmates can present a danger to other inmates to staff, and the public.

Sgt. James Hendricks said they often have to transport inmates to hospital visits and to the courthouse where they can come in contact with people. He said many inmates are fearful of taking the shots believing it will cause them some sort of harm.

Right now, there are more people at the jail than there should be. The population is supposed to be around 418; instead it’s 522.

Sheriff Rick Watson said a lot of the problem is caused by state corrections officials refusing to take prisoner after they’ve been convicted.

Right now, St. Clair County is stuck with them. Inmates are not mandated to take the vaccine. A jail official said they think inmates should have a right over what happens to their body.

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