Home>Articles>Superior Court Judge Issues Order Halting Prison Guard Vaccine Mandate

Outside the California Institution for Men in Chino. (Photo: cdcr.ca.gov/)

Superior Court Judge Issues Order Halting Prison Guard Vaccine Mandate

There was fear that a mandate would leave a lot of prisons with a critical correctional officer shortage

By Evan Symon, October 14, 2021 12:14 pm

Kern County Superior Court Judge Bernard Barmann issued a temporary restraining order against a vaccination mandate for state prison guards and other workers on Wednesday, less than 48 hours before it was to become active.

A mandate requiring prison workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 has been under frequent challenge since first being proposed in July. That month, Governor Gavin Newsom issued his state worker vaccination mandate. While the order was sweeping for California state workers, including many non-guard employees who work in prisons with health care facilities, the mandate left out prison guards. As guards have had a low vaccination total, with current estimates ranging from 18% to 42%, a mandate could have led to a majority of guards suddenly not having a job.

Rather than lose a huge part of its prison staff for refusing to get vaccinated even with a mandate, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) focused on voluntary vaccination efforts aimed a prison employees.

However, in September, Oakland-based U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled that state prison guards were to be added to the mandate due to go into effect on October 15th. Judge Tigar focused on the high rate of spread in prisons for both inmates and prison employees alike, with California state prisons losing 240 inmates and 39 employees to COVID-19 since the pandemic started in March of 2020.

“A mandate would lower the risk of preventable death and serious medical consequences among incarcerated persons. And no one has identified any remedy that will produce anything close to the same benefit,” said Judge Tigar in his September ruling.

With no exemptions beyond the usual medical or religious reasons, and the testing in lieu of vaccination option also being thrown out by the judge, both the Governor and prison guard groups, such as the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, were vehemently against the ruling.

“We respectfully disagree with the finding of deliberate indifference, as the department has long embraced vaccinations against COVID-19, and we continue to encourage our staff, incarcerated population, volunteers, and visitors to get vaccinated,” said the CDCR in a statement last month.

While the appeal was sent to higher courts, the prison guard groups also tried to get the order blocked before the mandate start date on Friday. The effort paid off on Wednesday with Judge Barmann’s order, effectively halting the mandate while the court considers a request for a preliminary injunction.

“There was fear that a mandate would leave a lot of prisons with a critical correctional officer shortage,” said Patrick Hughes, a healthcare worker who administers vaccines at a location frequented by prison guards to the Globe on Thursday. “A lot of them have also said they already had it, are immune, don’t want the vaccination. You know, nothing really is going to convince those who haven’t taken it by now otherwise, and the mandate sure as hell didn’t.”

“This gives everyone more time.”

A ruling over the mandate in a higher court is expected soon. The public health mandate, sans prison workers again, is due to take effect Friday.

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11 thoughts on “Superior Court Judge Issues Order Halting Prison Guard Vaccine Mandate

  1. Again, 4 legs are better than two…

    If mandates are proven to be bad for several job sectors then logic would tell you it is bad for all.

    End all vaccine mandates, now.

    Animal Farm was suppose to be fiction.

  2. No vax for guards, so why do our children need to get vaccinated? I believe our children are less susceptible to covid than prison guards.

  3. Thank you for the good news, great work from this another great judge!
    Another way to help end the health concern/hoax/attempted takeover of the world being perpetuated on all of us is to not not accept from anybody-an innocent person “just” parroting the numbers from the news, church leaders, radio announcers, etc…not accept from them the parroting of the covid numbers as if they alone have any meaning- without context.
    For example we heard these covid numbers relentlessly reported and saw them posted all thru 2020 only to see the final years grand total-all cause mortality rate-and see there never was a pandemic after all!
    Same good example here “240 inmates and 39 employees to COVID-19 since the pandemic started in March of 2020.”
    1. We need to know what are death the numbers at the California state prisons, in a same time period for previous years for these death numbers to mean there are more-or less deaths.

    2. If someone is counted/added as a “case” as a result of the (faulty) PCR test, what was the test calibrated at? because we know that these tests are being falsely calibrated to inflate the case numbers- making perfectly healthy people test positive vs actually being a case of a person with a cold (covid).

    3. We also need to know how many in a category are jabbed.

    So when a President, a Governor, the County Health Officer claims “the numbers are up” we have to shut down, get more jabs into more people…… that fear alone does not work anymore, we demand to know a lot more about their numbers.

  4. But COCHELLA FEST 2022 where the rich and famous flock will have us believe that 125,000 people high on coke, estacy, shrooms, cannabis and alcohol will ALL magically show their “vaccine card” or prove they were tested in 72 hours upon entering the festival????? HAHAHAHA!!!! You people are so dumb. So dumb. It’s painful to watch such idiocy in action. There is selective discrimination going on all around us. We have rich and famous not wearing masks. Not social distancing. Not adhering to infection control standards. But we peons, we plebians, we must ALL GET VACCINATED, right? WRONG FU. Hipocrites. This isn’t science. This is insanity.

  5. As I believe it was Susan Shelley who pointed out, California children neglected to contribute millions of dollars to Newsom to oppose the recall. Hopefully, California children will learn this important civics lesson from the prison guards union.

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