Incarcerated Persons Request for Religious and/or Medical Accommodation Process

Superceded by December 24, 2021 memo

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide direction relative to incarcerated persons who may request to be exempted from mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements on the basis of a religious or medical accommodation.  The August 19, 2021, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Order requires workers in specified correctional health care facilities to show evidence of full vaccination for COVID-19.  The September 27, 2021, Plata Court Order, states in part that incarcerated persons who desire to work outside of the institution or to have in-person visiting must by fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or establish a religious or medical exemption.

Incarcerated persons assigned to health care areas as described in the memorandum titled Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines and Testing for Institution Staff, dated August 23, 2021, or desiring an off-site work detail (OSWD) assignment outside the security perimeter (i.e., camp) or desiring an in-person visit may request a religious or medical accommodation to preclude them from the mandatory vaccination requirement. 

Request for religious accommodation

Incarcerated persons seeking an RRA must submit a completed COVID-19 RRA Vaccine Exemption Form. The complete RRA shall be forwarded to each institution’s Community Resources Manager (CRM) and shall be reviewed by the institutional Religious Review Committee (RRC).  The RRC shall consist of an Associate Warden or designee, Community Resources Manager, and one or more Chaplains. The COVID-19 RRA Vaccine Exemption Form does not need to be forwarded to the Statewide Religious Review Committee for review, unless the RRC’s decision is being appealed. Please note, the COVID-19 RRA Vaccine Exemption Form is being used as a religious accommodation form strictly for COVID-19 vaccine exemption requests.

Tracking RRA requests

The CRM will be expected to develop a tracking system to track all RRA that are received and the disposition.  Once the final disposition has been completed, the CRM will provide a copy of the completed form along with a copy of a General Chrono (CDCR-128B) indicating the request and disposition for the RRA.  A copy of the CDCR 128B chrono should be forwarded to the Visiting Lieutenant and the Captain of the facility the individual is housed in.

Request for medical accommodation

Incarcerated persons seeking a Request for Medical Accommodation must submit a completed Health Care Services Request Form (CDCR-7362) and route it to health care for review by the institution’s Chief Medical Executive.

Although each request for medical accommodation will be reviewed and evaluated against his/her medical condition, generally, the only medical exemptions/accommodations should be granted for those who have a documented severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate (15-30 minute) allergic reaction to a prior mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or polyethylene glycol.

Incarcerated persons who are not vaccinated or do not have an approved religious or medical exemption, shall be precluded from in person visiting effective the week of December 20, 2021 (updated to January 3, 2022).  The incarcerated population who are not vaccinated or do not have an approved religious or medical exemption shall be ineligible for camp placement effective Monday, December 20, 2021.

Vaccination will not be required for transfer to community re-entry programs such as Male Community Reentry Facility, Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program or Alternative Custody Program.

Wardens are expected to provide this information with the incarcerated population utilizing various methods of media to include Inmate Advisory Council meetings.