This question has thrown the bill in Nebraska’s southern neighbors. Kansas politicians have defied the idea that inmates in their COVID-19-plagued prisons would receive the vaccine in front of the general population of citizens 65 and older.
In Nebraska, Gage said, “Inmates in correctional facilities are treated like the general public.” That means inmates are generally receiving the vaccine at the same time as they are in public – 75 and over, 65 and over, etc., Gage said.
Adam Sipple, Nebraska ACLU legal director, said the vaccine hierarchy should be established by public health experts on public health data. He noted that inmates are in a particular pandemic.
“These people are in a church,” said Sipple. “It’s a very dangerous environment.
“If we were to vaccinate some of the participants in a very important system, you’d think we would have to vaccinate all participants, including the defendant, the judge, the court reporter, the lawyers and the jury.”
What to do with jurors is another mystery. During the trial, Kleine said it was difficult to inform the jury that all but them were vaccinated. So would court officials want to vaccinate a pool of jurors?
The defendants are currently stuck in a pandemic purgatory. According to court officials, Douglas County has not yet seen a formal fast-trial legal challenge. A South Dakota district judge granted such a challenge, ruling that the six-month law requiring a defendant to be tried within six months would not be repealed during a pandemic. “There is no pandemic exception to the constitution,” the judge wrote in late December.