A CLOSER LOOK: 46% of prison inmates agree to COVID-19 vaccination

A Closer Look

More than 16,000 people are incarcerated in state prisons.

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) announced its plan to get employees and inmates vaccinated against COVID-19, ADC Secretary Solomon Graves made the announcement during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s (R) weekly briefing on Tuesday, April 13.

The Department of Corrections has received 3,333 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that was administered to employees throughout various divisions — 2,353 doses were issued through a vaccination clinic, according to the ADC.

In the prison population, a two-dose Moderna vaccine will be administered to 7,454 inmates at the end of the vaccination schedule. That number is based on a survey of inmate staff where inmates agreed to take the vaccine.

As of April 13, 719 first doses of the Moderna vaccine, will be given by next week and the second dose by May 19.

“Neither staff nor offenders are required to receive the vaccine,” said ADC Communications Director Cindy Murphy. “Offenders are asked to sign a document saying they were offered the vaccine and declined.”

Murphy added that there may be another round of offering the vaccine to inmates.

According to ADC Director Dexter Payne’s February 2021 board report, at the end of January 2021, the “jurisdictional population for the Division of Correction totaled 16,119, representing an increase of 25 inmates since the first of January 2021.”


  • 17 & under: 2
  • 18-24: 1,361
  • 25-34: 4,685
  • 35-44: 4,402
  • 45-54: 2,677
  • Ages 55+: 2,082
  • Total: 15,209
  • Arkansas Division of Correction Custody Count as of Wednesday, April 14, 2021 – 14,196.
  • Arkansas Division of Community Correction Custody Count as of Wednesday, April 14, 2021 – 1,013.
  • Arkansas Department of Correction Total Custody Count as of Wednesday, April 14, 2021 – 15,209.

Currently, there are 48 active cases within the prison system and all are related to new intakes into the system, said Graves. Four employees are out due to COVID-19.


  • ARKANSAS: 26,000 (State population: 2.9 million)
  • KANSAS: 21,000 (State population: 2.9 million)
  • LOUISIANA: 50,000 (State population: 4.4 million)
  • MISSISSIPPI: 29,000 (State population: 2.9 million)
  • MISSOURI: 51,000 (State population: 6.1 million)
  • OKLAHOMA: 43,000 (State population: 3.9 million)
  • TENNESSEE: 58,000 (State population: 6.6 million)
  • TEXAS: 250,000 (State population: 28.1 million)

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