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Washington Jail Starts Giving Inmates Ramen Noodles For Getting Vaccinated

Kennewick, WA – Benton County Jail inmates who agree to get their COVID-19 vaccine are being given 10 packets of Ramen noodle soup.

The jail began incentivizing the vaccinations on Aug. 1, when it started doling out one of its most popular commissary items to inmates who agreed to get their first shot, The Olympian reported.

They’ve dubbed the program “Soups for Shots.”

Jail staff have handed out 900 noodle packs to 90 inmates so far, Benton County Correction Department Chief Scott Souza told the paper.

The facility advertised the incentive program to its approximately 360 inmates using large fliers featuring huge photos of the sodium-packed noodle soups, The Olympian reported.

The fliers are posted all over the facility.

“To encourage and support COVID vaccination efforts, the Benton County Department of Corrections will be providing each inmate that starts their vaccination series with 10 FREE RAMEN NOODLE SOUPS!!!” they read.

“To sign up, just send a kite to medical requesting to be vaccinated,” the fliers advise. “You will receive your soups after you receive your first dose of vaccine.”

10-pack incentive is only available for first-time vaccinations.

All unimmunized inmates are eligible, regardless of the length of their incarceration.

“We’re doing everything we can do to incentivize vaccination and we are getting outstanding response,” Chief Souza told The Olympian.

Other jails have also found ways to incentivize vaccinations.

Alabama prison inmates who agree to get the jab are rewarded with a $5 commissary credit, Insider reported.

In Wichita, Kansas, inmates at the Sedgwick County Jail are receiving $10 in commissary items.

“The goal is to mitigate COVID-19 in the jail as much as possible. It’s a correctional environment,” Sedgwick County Jail Lieutenant Jared Schechter told KWCH. “We’re running at capacity or more above capacity today on inmates, and so social distancing is very difficult to do in a correctional environment.”

Lt. Schechter said the facility’s program is worth between eight and 10 packs of Ramen, four bags of chips and some jalapenos.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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