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ADOC PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: COVID-19

ADOC PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: COVID-19

Maintaining the safety, security, and well-being of our inmate population, staff, and the public is the Alabama Department of Corrections’ (ADOC) highest priority. The ADOC has been working closely with Governor Kay Ivey’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), and numerous infectious disease control experts to prepare for and prevent the potential spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, which could significantly impact our operations.

The ADOC recognizes that the proactive, preventative measures we are implementing will be disruptive – particularly for inmates’ families. Rest assured that all inmates in our custody will continue to be provided with the services to which they are entitled, including rehabilitative, medical, dental, and mental health, through the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. We ask for your patience and understanding, knowing that the changes in how you are able to see or interact with your incarcerated loved ones are temporary and have been put in place for the sole purpose of protecting them and those around them. Although this situation is unprecedented in our lifetimes, we will take all necessary actions to protect staff, inmates and the public.

There currently are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within any ADOC facilities. Below is an overview of the system-wide preventative measures that have been in place to help ensure we keep this disease from impacting our correctional system:

  • All visitation, inmate passes, tours, and volunteer entry into our facilities are suspended statewide for 30 days.
  • All inmates will be provided one free call per week (up to 15 minutes) and extended hours of availability.
  • All inmate co-pays (including for medical services not directly related to COVID-19) are suspended for 60 days.
  • All non-emergent inmate community physician appointments and procedures are suspended for 30 days.
  • The ADOC is working with local oncologists to ensure inmates who require chemotherapy continue to receive treatment.
  • Inmate transfers between facilities are suspended (security and healthcare exceptions may be granted)
  • Vocational classes offered to inmates through J.F. Ingram State Technical College will be closed from March 17 – April 3, 2020.
  • General legal visits conducted in-person by attorneys with inmates will be suspended for 30 days. Requests by counsel for an in-person meeting due to urgent matters will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Attorney visits also will be accommodated by confidential phone calls.
  • All Work-Release and Work-Center Programs are suspended for 30 days – no offsite assignments will be permitted.
  • The correctional officer candidate on-site testing event scheduled to occur at Bibb Correctional Facility on March 20, 2020 is postponed until further notice.
  • All senior leadership and regional trainings are postponed.
  • ADOC Academy will continue operations at this time, with proper precautionary measures in place to protect trainees and staff.
  • In the coming days, all staff will be screened prior to entering the facilities by having their temperature taken. If the individual’s temperature is greater than 100.4, they will be restricted from entering the institution that day. All employees will have temperature screening at the beginning of each shift statewide.
  • The ADOC must maintain critical services; however, any staff who can perform their job functions remotely will be asked to do so per Governor Ivey’s recommendations. This will be implemented at the facility level by March 18, 2020.
  • CDC- and ADPH-approved signage detailing preventative recommendations, signs, and symptoms of COVID-19, and other helpful information is being posted throughout ADOC facilities.
  • All ADOC facilities will be sanitized with CDC-recommended cleaning supplies at an increased frequency to reduce the spread of virulent matter.

Information on these preventative measures is being communicated proactively with inmates via the inmate newsletter and bulletin boards within the facility. The Department also is communicating continuously with staff via numerous avenues.

Due to the unique aspects of each of our facilities and their respective populations, the ADOC remains agile at the institution level regarding how we will address any potential case of COVID-19 based on the factors and risks related to individual cases. We are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19, and will be making additional operational and preventative decisions as this situation continues to evolve while keeping our primary directive – maintaining the safety and security of our inmate population, staff, and the public – top of mind at all times. The ADOC will continue to post all public updates for family and friends of incarcerated individuals, as well as the media, on this website page.

Coronavirus Preparation Memo (pdf)
ADPH Coronavirus Response Matrix (pdf)

ADOC Administrative Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) has been notified that an administrative employee tested positive for COVID-19. This is the first confirmed case within the ADOC. Due to HIPAA restrictions and security concerns, the ADOC will not release the name of the individual or the facility at which they work. As of this release, there are no positive COVID-19 cases reported within the inmate population. We will continue to closely monitor inmate health at all facilities.

All individuals within the Department who have been in direct contact with the individual who tested positive are now in self-quarantine for a 14-day period, and will be monitored by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) for signs and symptoms due to direct exposure. Maintaining the safety, security, and well-being of our inmate population, staff, and the public remains the ADOC’s highest priority, and the Department will continue to work closely with Governor Ivey’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force, the ADPH, and infectious disease control experts to take necessary precautions to mitigate any potential spread of the virus.

“The ADOC has been actively preparing for the spread of COVID-19 throughout Alabama, which allowed us to quickly put in place necessary preventive measures and protocols to best protect our staff and inmate population,” said Commissioner Jeff Dunn. “Unfortunately, no one is immune to this virus. The physical state of our facilities and our crowded inmate populations are additional challenges we are working diligently to address as we navigate the evolving COVID-19 outbreak. The entire Department is focused on reducing the potential impact of this disease on our correctional system, while maintaining critical operational, rehabilitative, heath, and mental health services.”

The ADOC has the ability to test inmates within the facilities; however, testing will only occur after the ADPH approves a physician’s order. System-wide preventative measures in place include temperature screening of all staff prior to entering the facilities, increased sanitization of facilities with CDC-recommended cleaning supplies, and the suspension of visitation, general legal visits, and work-release and work-center programs. The Department is also minimizing internal transfers of inmates on a case-by-case basis.

Due to the unique aspects of each of our facilities and their respective populations, the ADOC remains agile at the institution level in addressing any potential case of COVID-19. We will continue to closely monitor the spread of COVID-19, and make additional operational and preventative decisions as the situation evolves. The Department remains focused on maintaining the safety and security of the inmate population, the staff, and the public at-large above all else.

Through the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, the ADOC will post all public updates for family and friends of incarcerated individuals, as well as the media, on COVID-19 News Updates.

ADOC COVID-19 Update

The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) continues to take steps necessary to maintain the safety, security, and well-being of our inmate population, staff, and the public. The Department is working closely with Governor Ivey’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), and infectious disease control experts to mitigate the spread of the virus. Our continued and collective efforts have allowed for the implementation of new preventative practices and procedures in response to this rapidly evolving situation.

Effective today, the Department is placing a 30-day moratorium on new intakes from county jails based on Governor Ivey’s declared State of Emergency related to COVID-19. This restriction includes, but is not limited to, new commitments, court returns, and parolees and probationers who are revoked or sanctioned to a dunk. During this time, the Department will continue to receive inmates with severe medical or mental health conditions, subject to the usual review process by the Department’s Office of Health Services. However, additional health screenings will be implemented at the facility level to ensure any inmate is not symptomatic prior to entry. While the 30-day moratorium is in effect, the ADOC’s intake procedures will be reviewed closely and intake dorm space will be assessed thoroughly. At the end of this 30-day period, the Department will assess our interim intake process.

In addition to implementing system-wide preventative measures to prevent the virus from entering our facilities, the ADOC also is modifying internal protocols to best serve our inmate population who have been impacted by these altered processes and various safety precautions. Effective immediately, the ADOC will extend both inmate yard time and snack line services at all our facilities. Other protocol adjustments remain under consideration for possible implementation.

We are continuing to diligently monitor the situation, working closely with the ADPH and adhering to CDC-recommended health and hygiene guidelines. As noted yesterday, March 19, the ADOC has been notified that an administrative employee tested positive for COVID-19. All individuals within the Department who have been in direct contact with the individual who tested positive remain in a 14-day self-quarantine period, and are being monitored by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) for signs and symptoms due to direct exposure. Maintaining the safety, security, and well-being of our overall system remains the ADOC’s highest priority.

COVID-19 Preparations

The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic closely, including the rising number of confirmed cases across the country and in Alabama, specifically. Working closely with Governor Ivey’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), the National Guard, and infectious disease control experts, we have instituted numerous preventative measures in order to mitigate the spread of the virus in our facilities. Many of the COVID-19 guidelines and protocol recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ADPH already have been implemented.

As of 5 p.m., April 1, 2020, we are pleased to report that the ADOC does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our inmate population.

On March 30, 2020, the ADOC verified that a staff member who works at Staton Correctional Facility has tested positive for COVID-19. This individual is now self-quarantining for a 14-day period. This is the second positive COVID-19 test among ADOC’s workforce since the onset of the outbreak, the first of which occurred at St. Clair Correctional Facility and was verified on March 20.

The ADOC remains committed to maintaining transparency – without compromising security –throughout the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, and has been working to aggregate relevant data to keep the public informed about the health and well-being of those who live and work in our facilities. Moving forward, we will continue to track statistical data as made available regarding COVID-19 testing on inmates. This information will be updated every Tuesday and Friday, and accessible via this webpage. To view the latest statistical data, please visit ADOC COVID-19 Testing.

Below, we have outlined additional preventative measures now in place and further measures in the process of being implemented. Also, below is an outline of ADOC’s new production program designed to provide our staff and inmate population with face masks considering the nationwide shortages and ongoing supply chain disruptions.

NEW ADOC FACE MASK PRODUCTION PROGRAM
  • The ADOC has created an opportunity to empower inmates to participate in our ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities. ADOC plants at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women and Holman Correctional Facility have been modified to enable the production of face masks for our correctional staff and the inmate population. Last week, inmates were trained on how to sew protective masks, and production was initiated this week. The ADOC estimates that inmates working at these plants will be able to produce between 2,000 and 2,500 masks per day, which subsequently will be distributed across the correctional system for use.
  • The ADOC continues to source N95 masks, face shields, gloves, gowns, and other necessary PPE from public and private entities for healthcare staff who interact directly with inmates in our infirmaries.
NEW PREVENTATIVE MEASURES IN PLACE
  • The ADOC has established quarantine/isolation areas for inmates who exhibit symptoms of and are being tested for COVID-19 at each of its facilities.
  • The ADOC continues to test inmates exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 upon a physician’s order and approval (all returned tests have been negative to-date).
  • Additional supplies of hand sanitizer have been distributed to all correctional facilities and placed at key locations including points of entry into the facility and staffing posts.
  • Inmates are being provided additional hygiene products as needed, including bar soap.
  • In addition to temperature checks, we are enhancing our screening process by developing verbal screening measures recommended by the CDC for all those who attempt to enter our facilities.
  • Only mission-critical outside contractors will be permitted on ADOC premises (following screening protocols) to conduct vital repairs and maintenance.
  • All routine internal transfers have been suspended and protocols are under development for those who are considered exceptions due to important security and healthcare concerns.
  • The ADOC’s 30-day moratorium on new intakes continues – however, during this time, the Department will continue to receive inmates with severe medical or mental health conditions, subject to review by the Department’s Office of Health Services. Additional health screenings will be implemented at the facility level to ensure any intake is not symptomatic prior to entry into our facilities
  • An employee call-in program has been established to closely monitor absenteeism and security staffing levels at each facility.
  • In addition to posting flyers outlining CDC-recommended hygiene and safety protocols for inmates in our facilities, an ADOC-specific educational handout on COVID-19 has been developed for all inmates and will be distributed throughout the correctional system this week.
  • All laundry fees at community-based facilities have been waived; all charges since March 13 will be credited back to inmates.
  • The ADOC has cancelled the April 24 on-site recruitment event at Fountain Correctional Facility – future onsite recruitment events will be assessed as necessary
  • The ADOC is temporarily shifting to virtual recruiting, and actively will be hiring Basic Correctional Officers (BCO).
  • The Correctional Officer Trainee (COT) APOTSC Academy scheduled for May 4 has been cancelled – trainees will attend the next COT Academy slated for July 20.
  • ADOC Academy operations have been suspended until April 20.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES UNDER REVIEW / IN PROGRESS
  • The ADOC is exploring the possibility of contract and community partnerships with various groups in order to obtain additional hygiene supplies that could be distributed to our inmate population – these discussions currently are in progress.
  • The ADOC is investigating options to purchase hand-washing stations for staff, which would be installed at strategic locations throughout correctional facilities.
  • Any inoperable sinks and toilets across the correctional system are in the process of being repaired.

While we currently have no inmates or additional staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, we recognize these circumstances rapidly could change. Armed with thorough and vetted COVID-19 treatment and containment protocols, the ADOC remains agile at the institution level to address individual cases and is positioned to move quickly to further secure our facilities to prevent spread. Protecting the safety, security, and well-being of our inmate population, correctional staff, and the public remains our highest priority.

Finally, the ADOC wishes to extend its gratitude to Governor Ivey’s COVID-19 task force, the ADPH, and National Guard, as well as our administrative employees, correctional staff, healthcare workers, and all others within our Department who continue to work tirelessly to prevent and mitigate the potential spread of this virus in our facilities. We recognize the disruption these measures have placed on our inmate population, inmates’ loved ones, and our staff, and ask for continued patience and understanding as we work together to navigate this unprecedented health emergency. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we will consider all new recommended guidelines from the CDC, state and federal levels to best protect all those who live and work in our facilities.