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Cuyahoga County judge offering “time off” for those who get vaccinated

"Incentives work much better than sanctions in influencing behavior positively."

CLEVELAND — Judge David Matia oversees Cuyahoga County's drug court. 

He says the majority of defendants coming before him are not vaccinated against COVID-19. He often has to ask to know whether safety protocols need to be enforced.

But depending on the crime, he's giving some an option to get less probation if they can prove they got a covid vaccine. For example, he offered on defendant a huge choice.

“If they get vaccinated by June 30th, their probation will be cut in half. If they get their GED, their probation will terminate,” Judge Matia said.

He legally can't force someone to get the vaccine, but he hopes other judges will start giving people the same option of choice for less probation time.

“As judges we have great latitude in helping people better themselves, become better members of society but still this is their choice, they don’t have to get vaccinated, but if they do it’s less time in probation,” Judge Matia said.

He just started doing it so he doesn't know yet whether or not it will work. But so far the feedback has been positive.

"Incentives work much better than sanctions in influencing behavior positively," Judge Matia said.

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Editor's Note: The below video is from a previously published story