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The Marshall Project highlights criminal justice issues that often go overlooked or that people in power want to hide. Support from readers like you helps us keep criminal justice on the front page. Because that’s how change happens. With just $8,573 left to go, you can help us reach our goal of $15,000 for this fall campaign.

Inside Story · Filed 6:00 a.m.

COVID-19 and Vaccine Mistrust Behind Bars

The second episode of The Marshall Project’s new video series, designed for audiences inside and outside of prison, reflects on how the COVID-19 vaccine has been received in lockups.

In episode two of Inside Story, our new video series designed for people in prisons and jails across the country, we examine the harsh impacts of the pandemic on incarcerated people and explore how the COVID-19 vaccines are being administered behind bars.

Host Lawrence Bartley speaks with reporter Nicole Lewis about her work documenting the lives of incarcerated people over the past year, and reflects on the long history of mistrust that exists between prisoners and their jailers when it comes to medical care. He hears from Jermaine Archer, who contracted COVID-19 twice while on the inside. Bartley also speaks with Dr. Leah Rorvig of Amend, a correctional health and human rights organization. Rorvig explains how the vaccines work, debunks some of the myths surrounding them and reflects on why it is so essential that people living and working in our nation’s prisons are inoculated against COVID-19.

If you are incarcerated or work or volunteer in a correctional facility and are interested in showing Inside Story in your prison or jail, please contact

Host and Executive Producer Lawrence Bartley

Director Donald Washington, Jr.

Director of Photography Adam Giese

Additional Photography Donald Washington, Jr.

Editor Donald Washington, Jr.

Consulting Producers Ruth Baldwin and Geraldine Sealey

Archival Getty, Pond5, Colorado Department of Corrections, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Prison Law Office, U.S. District Court, Justin Cook, Joshua Lott, Edmund D. Fountain, Brad Ogbonna

Special thanks to Amend, Colorado Department of Corrections, Carroll Bogert, Nicole Lewis, Jermaine Archer, Dr. Leah Rorvig, Max McClellan, Celina Fang

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Donald Washington, Jr. is the executive assistant. He holds a graduate degree from the New York Theological Seminary and a BS from Mercy College. Previously, Donald was the co-founding President of the Back-To-School Fund, a fundraising group supplementing the educational needs of children with incarcerated parents in New York State prisons. In 2015, Donald was presented with the Ossie Davis award for his excellence in community service by Hudson Link for Higher Education.

Lawrence Bartley is the director of “News Inside,” the print publication of The Marshall Project which is distributed in hundreds of prisons and jails throughout the United States. He is an accomplished public speaker and has provided multimedia content for CNN, PBS, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC and more. News Inside is the recipient of the 2020 Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media.