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Massachusetts Inmates Will Not Get Shorter Prison Sentences By Getting COVID Vaccine

BOSTON (CBS) - Inmates in the Massachusetts Department of Correction will no longer be able to get a week taken off their prison sentence by getting the coronavirus vaccine. Commissioner Carol Mici made the announcement in a letter to inmates last week, but Governor Baker rescinded it on Wednesday.

"When the Governor's office became aware of the memo, the decision was made to rescind it because the memo is not consistent with the Administration's policies regarding reduced prison terms," a spokesperson for Baker said in an email to WBZ-TV Wednesday night.

In the letter, Mici wrote, "I have determined that receiving the vaccine is significantly valuable to rehabilitation and will therefore be offering Earned Good Time."

Inmates would have been required to read educational literature and watch videos about the vaccine, receive both doses and then would have been awarded 7.5 days of Earned Good Time.

Massachusetts is one of just a few states offering inmates the vaccine in Phase 1, Mici said. So far, more than 3,500 inmates in the state have received their first dose of the vaccine.

"These facilities are prioritized because they serve vulnerable populations in densely populated settings," Gov. Charlie Baker has said about prisons and other congregate care facilities.

Inmates have been provided informational videos about the vaccine since December, including a conversation between Rev. Liz Walker, Rev. Gloria White-Hammond and Dr. Anthony Fauci addressing skepticism about the vaccine and health care industry.

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