Offenders getting sentences cut in half if they get vaccine in shock new policy.
By Julia Fields
CERTAIN offenders could get their sentences cut in half if they agree to get the Covid vaccine in a shocking new policy.
Georgia’s Hall and Dawson counties are offering this incentive in an effort to increase Covid vaccination rates among adults.
This incentive will be available to people doing community service as part of their sentence.
Hall County Court Administrator Jason Stephenson said that judges can offer up to 20 to 40 hours for those qualified to participate.
Stephenson spoke about the new project saying: “In our judge’s view, every shot in the arm is a service to the community.
“For some offenders it does seem appropriate to recognize that the time and the cost involved and perhaps lining up childcare, taking time off from work, arranging for transportation, and making to a vaccination site – not once but twice. This recognizes the commitment they’ve made in doing that.”
Court leaders are trying to avoid pressuring people into getting the vaccine, but rather making those that qualify aware of the benefits.
Andy Maddox, senior assistant public defender of Hall County, explained this as: “Somebody mentions 20 hours and that may not sound like a lot, but that half a work week and if somebody can get a shot instead of doing 20 hours of community service, that is a pretty strong incentive.”
Georgia’s current vaccination rate is 37 percent while the national average is 47 percent.
Maddox assessed the initial interest saying, “I think initially it’s some curiosity. Some have already gotten it. Many are pondering it.”