Nolte: Prisoners in Nine States to Receive Coronavirus Vaccine Before General Public

San Quentin State Prison
Eric Risberg/Associated Press

The far-left Washington Post reports that nine states will put their prisoners ahead of the general public once the coronavirus vaccine is available, and I think that’s the right thing to do.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and the territory of Puerto Rico have put prisoners on the first of three tiers for vaccinations, along with healthcare workers, residents in long-term care facilities, police, and fire personnel.

Phase two includes people over age 65, school personnel, individuals with comorbidities, and grocery store workers. Phase three is the rest of us, the general public.

The Daily Wire lays out in detail how each state is doing things a little differently. Little nuances here and there. For instance, here in North Carolina, “prisoners in jails will be part of Phase 1B, along with “residents in long-term care settings, including nursing homes, adult care homes, family care homes, group homes, and homes serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities[.]” Included in 1A are “healthcare workers and medical first responders who are at high risk of exposure based on work duties or who are vital to the initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution.”

This might surprise some of you, but this strikes me as the right thing to do.

As a society and for good reason, we have created a criminal justice system that takes away the rights of individuals lawfully convicted of certain crimes. In doing so, the State assumes responsibility for the care and well-being of these inmates. These people become our responsibility, which means we have a responsibility to keep them safe and healthy.

You don’t need me to explain why jails and prisons have been coronavirus hot spots, so these places should definitely be at the top of the list.

Someday. Not today or tomorrow or next year, maybe not in my lifetime, but someday, this country will be forced to face the way it treats its prisoners, and that is going to be a day of shame, how we all turned our backs knowing how dangerous these prisons are, how we made jokes about ass-rape, how we knew what was going on and did nothing, other than to turn the truth into action movie fodder.

We’re responsible for these people. As a society, we are supposed to take care of them, and it is a real scandal that we know what goes on in these places and nothing is done. The least among us…

I’m all for locking people up. I’m all for locking violent people up forever. But once these people are under our care, we have a moral responsibility to keep them safe and healthy and, yes, comfortable.

And I can’t imagine how bad things must be for inmates in these prisons right now during the pandemic. Life is hard enough in these places without all the coronavirus protocols. So, no, the people we are fully responsible for should definitely be at the top of the vaccination list.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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