THE LATEST: Citing briefs we filed on behalf of the American Medical Association, the American College of Correctional Physicians, and the Medical Society of New Jersey, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division upheld vaccine requirements for those working in carceral settings. In the matter pending the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the court determined it should defer to prison officials and vacated the district court’s order requiring vaccination.
COVID-19 poses a grave risk to the health of people who are incarcerated. Vaccination is particularly important in carceral settings, where people who are at high risk are unable to choose to socially distance themselves from unvaccinated corrections officers and other prison workers with whom they come into close contact.
As of January 20, 2022 incarcerated Californians accounted for more than 59,000 cases, and nearly 250 incarcerated Californians had died. More than half of all incarcerated Californians had contracted COVID-19. By the end of January 2022, there were over 10,000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 and 58 deaths among individuals incarcerated within New Jersey Department of Corrections facilities and nearly 7,000 confirmed cases among New Jersey Department of Corrections staff.
On behalf of the American College of Correctional Physicians, Democracy Forward filed an amicus brief in Plata v. Newsom, urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to uphold the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s order requiring vaccination for all workers in the state’s correctional facilities.
In matters pending against New Jersey Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order No. 283, we filed briefs on behalf of the American Medical Association, the American College of Correctional Physicians, and the Medical Society of New Jersey, urging the court to deny efforts to stay a vaccination requirement for workers in high-risk congregate settings, including New Jersey’s correctional facilities.
Immediate, widespread vaccination against COVID-19 is the surest way to protect people who are incarcerated, workers in correctional facilities, and the general public and to end this costly pandemic.