A federal judge on Monday ordered the state of Maryland to provide status reports and updates detailing current COVID-19 outbreaks and vaccination distribution data for incarcerated individuals at the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center, according to court filings.
U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander said the state will be directed to “file a status report” and respond to a motion filed by the American Civil Liberties Union by May 21. The data in the status report must include “how many people incarcerated in the jail as of May 20, 2021, have been offered the vaccine, and how many have actually been vaccinated,” the court filing read.
The order comes days after the ACLU demanded more transparency on the number of jailed people vaccinated at the Baltimore facility. The ACLU alleged in court documents that the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services had not responded to any of their requests amid several coronavirus outbreaks.
Currently, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services does not publicly break down vaccination information by facility.
“In addition, defendants should include data for each housing unit of BCBIC, reflecting the number of inmates and the number who have been vaccinated,” Hollander said in the filing.
The lack of transparency, the ACLU has said, has hindered its criminal justice experts from effectively aiding their clients housed at Central Booking. The full scope of the pandemic’s devastation on the state’s incarcerated population is still not fully known, the ACLU contends.
“We’re pleased that the Court has taken this situation seriously and ordered the state to provide the critical public health information we’re seeking,” David Fathi, Director of the ACLU National Prison Project said in a statement on Tuesday.
The ACLU said it had been seeking vaccination information from the Baltimore jail since February. The Baltimore jail has 28 active coronavirus cases as of May 7, the most in the state, according to the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the court’s order and the ACLU’s filing.
Out of approximately 18,000 people who are incarcerated in Maryland, 8,616 received the first of a two-shot vaccination regimen while 5,005 are fully vaccinated. A total of 4,011 correctional staff also received their first shot while 3,968 received a second dose, according to the department, as of
Statewide, the department said 70,693 inmates and 77,886 correctional staff have been tested for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Maryland has still seen at 30 least inmate deaths due to COVID-19 as of May 7.