Washington Jail Staff Gives Out Free Ramen to Encourage Inmates to Get Vaccinated

The program, nicknamed "Soups for Shots," is said to have been met with a positive response. Hundreds of packets have been given to inmates this month.


Image via Getty/Yevhen Roshchyn


A jail in Washington state has taken to offering free ramen, a quite in-demand commissary item, as an incentive for inmates to get vaccinated amid a nationwide push to boost vaccination rates.

Annette Cary, writing for the Olympian, recently reported that staff at the Benton County facility—which houses around 360 inmates—had been giving out the noodles since the beginning of August. As of the beginning of this week, staff had given out an estimated 900 packets to 90 inmates.

The program, the report adds, is being referred to by staff as “Soups for Shots.” When an inmate gets their first shot, they’re given 10 packets of noodles. According to the Benton County Corrections Department’s Chief of Corrections, Scott Souza, the response from inmates has been “outstanding.”

In Washington state, roughly 60 percent of the total population is currently fully vaccinated. This is above the current nationwide rate of just under 52 percent. Earlier this month, Gov. Jay Inslee issued an order requiring teachers in the state to get fully vaccinated or risk losing their job. An Oct. 18 full vaccination deadline for educators was also put into place.

“It has been a long pandemic, and our students and teachers have borne their own unique burdens throughout,” Inslee said at the time. “This virus is increasingly impacting young people, and those under the age of 12 still can’t get the vaccine for themselves. We won’t gamble with the health of our children, our educators and school staff, nor the health of the communities they serve.”

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