MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Ramsey County judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Minnesota Department of Corrections that alleged the state failed to properly protect prisoners from COVID-19.
The class-action suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the state’s inmates alleged the DOC failed to “arrange to vaccinate prisoners on a priority equivalent to the priority of comparable civilians,” and that the state’s failure to prioritize inmates was tantamount to a constitutional violation and cruel and unusual punishment.
In her ruling, Judge Sara Grewing noted that “by April 9, the DOC had offered vaccinations to all of the inmates who wanted them” and that “the vaccination process remains ongoing.”
She said the DOC “offered vaccines to its residents on the same schedule as the statewide priority list.” Grewing also noted that 76% of incarcerated individuals are vaccinated, a rate which is “ahead of both the general public and other similarly-situated prison systems.”
Ultimately, Grewing said she agreed with the state’s contention that the lawsuit’s “primary issues are rendered moot by the fact that Minnesota’s vaccine prioritization has concluded, and all Minnesotans who wish to receive a vaccine are eligible.”
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