A Message About Vaccines and Visits From ERDCC
We received the following message regarding vaccines and visits from an incarcerated man at ERDCC in Bonne Terre. This message includes the email that Jeff Norman, Director of Adult Institutions, sent out to the incarcerated regarding these issues.
"The department continues to SHOW they do not care about the health and safety of us, our families, or the public. Today, 4/15/21, we received the below email from the DOC. It says that we have to be fully vaccinated and that our families and us must wear masks to receive a visit June 1st. Our families don't have to be vaccinated---which is fine.
staff Do Not have to be vaccinated and staff Do Not have to wear
There are so many problems with this and rights are being violated. First, we don't go anywhere. It is STAFF who go in and out of these prisons, interact with people, and contract COVID-19. STAFF are the ones who gave/give us the virus and are the reason we are in this position in the first place. So the one group that NEEDS to be fully vaccinated and wear masks, is STAFF. That is the safest and only way to ensure that our families and us don't catch the virus from STAFF. Because staff are going to give COVID-19 to some visitors, since staff refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated.
Next, isn't Johnson and Johnson on pause and not being used right now? So why is the DOC saying anything about using it?
Next, we have the right, just like every other human being, to choose whether or not to get the shots, but we are not suppose to be discriminated against for whatever decision we make. Yet, the DOC is DISCRIMINATING by not allowing visits to ALL offenders. If staff don't have to be vaccinated and visitors don't have to be vaccinated, then why do we have to be? The same screening or temperature check for everyone else should be good enough for us too.
Lastly, their email says when COVID conditions improve. As much as I wish they would improve, the cases are still high across the country. In Missouri alone, Fox 2 news reported yesterday there were over 400 new cases and 107 deaths, and today they reported 540 new cases and 3 deaths. COVID isn't going anywhere yet, and as long as more infectious and deadly variants keep popping up, the department shouldn't make promises for the future. Instead, they should focus on what we know and what will help keep everyone safe.
One thing about the department is, a lot of things they do is about money. The only reason for them to force shots on us, is money. Because if it was about health and safety, they would have released those of us with health issues who are within a year of parole eligibility, they would force staff to wear masks and get vaccinated to work here, and staff wouldn't be allowed to bring fentanyl into prisons. Everything that is, and has been, going on in here is staff's fault. They created this unsafe, inhumane, unhealthy environment. But for some reason, they keep trying to act like inmates and our families are the problem.
'TO ALL OFFENDERS:
As we work toward returning to some kind of normal within our institutions, there has been a lot of discussion about visiting. I know how important it is to each of you to receive visits from family and friends. Previously, you were informed that the goal is to resume visiting after 70% of the population has been vaccinated. However, I would like to announce beginning June 1, we will open visiting for all offenders who have been fully vaccinated! You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
There will be a few restrictions, including requiring all offenders and visitors to wear a mask, limiting the visiting rooms to 50% capacity and screening visitors to help ensure they do not have COVID. At this time, visitors are not required to be vaccinated.
This requirement is not permanent. As more people get the vaccination and as conditions with COVID improve, we will resume regular visiting for everyone, including those who have not been vaccinated. At this time, it is not possible to put a date on that.
If you signed up for the vaccine with medical, please continue to get the vaccine when available. If you did not sign up, medical will be reaching out soon to give you another opportunity to get it. I encourage all of you to get vaccinated so that you can begin visiting as soon as possible.