BROOMFIELD, Colorado (CBS4) – As the state shifts its focus on where and how to vaccinate Coloradans against COVID-19, prisons play a bigger role in protecting the community. The Broomfield County Jail runs vaccination clinics for inmates and staff on Fridays.
“The average detention time for our inmates is less than 26 days, so we didn’t want to create a situation where an inmate was vaccinated at their first vaccination and then cycled into the community and they weren’t fully vaccinated,” said Broomfield Police Commander Shawn Laughlin.
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A few weeks ago, in consultation with several city authorities, including Broomfield Public Health, the prison began giving Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. The J&J vaccine is one dose. The prison population is only around 50, half the pre-pandemic average, but almost all prisoners have taken their syringes.
“I would consider it a great achievement that we have a vaccination rate of around 85%, which exceeds our 80% target and again most of the inmates are going back to the community Success,” said Laughlin.
“I was just doing my part,” said Marcus Jamsay, an inmate who will be released this fall.
On Friday he received his second dose of Moderna. He says he has grandparents in their 80s and that he wants to be vaccinated for more family members.
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“I have three girls so I don’t have to worry if I get out of here. I am fully vaccinated, ”he said. “I will feel good. The first shot wasn’t bad, just sore to the touch, those are the only side effects I had. “
Laughlin says with so much of the population being vaccinated, the prison is allowed to bring back services like education and personal programs.
“It basically allows us to go back to normal, in the sense of a correctional facility,” he said.
The average length of an inmate’s stay in Broomfield Prison is only 26 days, and the program is seen as a way to keep people safe inside and outside the prison.
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“We have an obligation to change the inmate’s trajectory before entering the facility. We see this in how we build our relationships with inmates within the facility. When we offer programs like this, it’s a great response. You want to be prepared to be back in the ward, ”Laughlin said.