3-11-2020 Operational Changes at Colorado Department of Corrections' Facilities for Prevention of COVID-19

OPERATIONAL CHANGES AT COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS’ FACILITIES FOR PREVENTION OF COVID-19 

Given the risks associated with the spread of COVID-19, the Colorado Department of Corrections has begun to modify operations at our facilities.

“We take our responsibility to protect staff, inmates, and parolees very seriously, and are taking actions based on our desire to prevent them from being in harms’ way as a result of COVID-19,” said CDOC Executive Director Dean Williams. “Anytime we make these types of changes to operations, we are acutely aware of the impact it has on those who work and live in our facilities as well as their loved ones, and we do our best to lessen the impact as much as possible.”

At this time, in order to best protect CDOC facilities, effective immediately the Department of Corrections will:

1.)Suspend all visiting in our facilities. DOC understands that this will greatly impact the inmate population, but have made the difficult decision that the risk of a visitor potentially bringing COVID-19 into a facility is something that must be prevented to the extent possible. 

CDOC is currently looking at options for conducting video visits and expanding the amount of phone time allowed in order to assist offenders in staying connected to those they care about.

Legal visits will still occur but will be non-contact visits.

2.) Suspend all volunteer services at the facilities. CDOC will be looking at other recreation options to fill in gaps created by this temporary loss of volunteers.

3.) All public tours and family reunification events will be postponed.

4.) All staff will be limiting any inter-facility travel unless absolutely necessary, and will be conducting inter-facility meetings via phone or web conference whenever possible.

5.) Parolees who are sick, immune compromised, over 60, and/or considered to be at higher risk of infection (people who have traveled to areas where community transmission is occurring or had direct close contact with a presumptive positive case of COVID-19) will not be required to come into the parole office, but will still be required to maintain contact with their parole officer. Those parolees will be directly contacted by their parole officer.  If a parolee is ill, they should immediately notify their parole officer via phone/CWISE or email and stay home until they contact their healthcare provider. This is a changing situation and we may update these instructions as it develops.

CDOC will review these decisions regularly over the next 30 days. 

Other FAQs

Do inmates have access to soap and/or hand sanitizer in their living areas?

The inmates do have access to soap and water for handwashing. Given the alcohol content of hand sanitizer, we do not currently provide hand sanitizer for inmates in facilities. We are looking at options to provide hand sanitizer in a controlled manner to avoid misuse.

Is DOC increasing how often the prison facilities are cleaned? Are more cleaning products, like disinfectant wipes or similar products, being made available to staff/inmates?

The facilities are regularly cleaned, but we have increased cleaning efforts to help with prevention. Inmates at most custody levels and all staff members regularly have access to cleaning products in order to clean and disinfect the facilities, and for inmates who want/need to clean their cells.

How is the department educating inmates and staff?

CDOC Health Services Administrators will be conducting roll call trainings for staff inside our facilities.  We have posted the information sheets about the virus provided by CDPHE throughout our facilities so offenders and staff can access them for information. We are also communicating directly with staff and will be implementing further communication with the inmate populations as well.

How is DOC screening?

CDOC is currently screening all incoming inmates for COVID-19 and will be implementing formalized screening practices for inmates already in our custody who may be entering or leaving our facilities for events like medical appointments, court etc. We will also assess any inmates in our custody who may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. We will also be screening staff and vendors.