Who doesn’t love ramen noodles? They’re cheap, quick and easy to make, versatile—I like to add jerk pork, broccoli, corn, and scallions to mine—and lastly, delicious! It seems a Washington State jail factored in people’s affinity for the beloved food when it recently began a program called “Soups for Shots.”
According to The Olympian, starting in August, Benton County Jail in Kennewick, Wa. began offering 10 packs of the highly coveted commissary item to inmates as an incentive to get their first COVID-19 vaccine shot.
Flyers and posters throughout the facility, which currently holds roughly 360 inmates, read: “To encourage and support COVID vaccination efforts, the Benton County Department of Corrections will be providing each inmate that starts their vaccination series with 10 FREE RAMEN NOODLE SOUPS!!!”
The ad, which features an up-close image of the raw noodles, states that the reward is for first-time vaccinations only and inmates will receive their soups after getting the shot.
Scott Souza, chief of corrections at the Benton County Corrections Department, said 900 packs of ramen noodles have been given to 90 inmates since the start of the program. “We’re doing everything we can do to incentivize vaccination and we are getting an outstanding response,” Souza told The Olympian.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, prisons and jails around the country continue to see rising COVID cases. In fact, research shows that inmates are five times more likely to contract the potentially deadly virus than the overall population, resulting in facilities nationwide coming up with creative ways to convince inmates to get vaccinated.
ABC News reported inmates in Alabama prisons can receive $5 commissary credits for getting the shot. Meanwhile, Sedgwick County Jail in Wichita, Kan. offers its inmates $10 worth of commissary items in exchange for vaccinations, according to KWCH-TV.
Watch the below video for more insight on how U.S. corrections facilities are dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: