Denver jails offer free noodles and coffee to inmates as incentive to vaccinate

As a safety measure to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Denver Sheriff Department is offering an incentive — complimentary ramen noodles and coffee — to inmates who get vaccinated while in custody.

“In jails across America, vaccine incentive programs for individuals in custody are working and we decided to move forward with implementing one as well,” said Sheriff Elias Diggins, in a news release. “We will evaluate the program monthly and hope that it will make a difference as we all continue to combat COVID.”

The sheriff department implemented a vaccine incentive program for individuals that are in custody as a way to encourage inmates to get the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the release said.

In New York state prisons inmates are offered pizza and McDonald’s items as incentives to be vaccinated, according to the Associated Press.

The Denver incentive program offers 10 ramen noodle soups or a combination of one coffee and five ramen noodle soups for each COVID-19 vaccine an individual receives, the release said. Inmates that had already received a vaccine dosage while in custody will be offered the items as well.

Noodles and coffee are among commissary items offered to Denver jail inmates, items which can be purchased, and are in addition to the three daily meals prepared in kitchens at the downtown and county jails.

As of Tuesday, the total number of outbreak cases at the downtown jail was 455, according to sheriff department data. The outbreak number excludes staff and many of the cases “have already been resolved.”

The number of cases has been on a steep and steady rise since September.

The DSD will continue to work with the Denver Health and Hospital Authority and the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment in efforts to minimize the threat of COVID-19, the release said.


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