This is the second part of the Corrections and COVID-19 series made possible through the Falcon Correctional and Community Services, Inc. Topics covered in the first installment are the epidemiology of COVID-19, its potential implications within the corrections setting, and guidelines for leaders dealing with this pandemic. This session meanwhile focuses on the specific populations within the corrections system that are and will be affected by COVID-19
Falcon’s panel of experts serves as this course’s speakers. Dr. Robin Timme is the Eastern Region Vice President and a Senior Expert for Falcon, Inc. with an extensive background in correctional behavioral health and forensic psychology. Dr. Jennifer Horney is a Professor and Founding Director of the Program in Epidemiology and Core Faculty at the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware renowned for her work on measuring health impacts of disasters and disaster planning. Finally, Dr. Babatunde Okuleye has over 18 years of experience working with prisons and jails, managing and overseeing psychiatric services in these facilities.
Points covered on this webinar include:
- Additional and new information on the epidemiology of COVID-19.
- The risk and lethality of the disease in older people.
- The superficial increase of cases upon widened testing and its long-term benefits.
- COVID’s comorbidities: Existing chronic conditions that put someone at a higher risk of contracting the disease.
- Data supporting the greater lethality of COVID-19 on African-Americans.
- Mental health concerns that may arise due to heightened stress and anxiety brought about by the pandemic.
- Social factors that serve as determinants of health.
- The ethical dilemma prisons and jails face on whether to provide interventions within the facilities or release certain inmates and detainees and the risk that each of these poses.
- The different populations in the justice system that are impacted by COVID-19 and their unique challenges.
- The geriatric/aging population’s fears and the risks that come with their age and higher rates of comorbid health conditions.
- Chronic care populations across all age groups that are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.
- Inmates with substance use disorders and how social distancing protocols impacted drug trafficking within jails.
- Those with serious mental illness whose symptoms are exacerbated due to the anxiety and other limitations brought about by COVID.
- Individuals who are normally under the radar but are now requiring attention due to stress.
- Essential services providers who end up ‘worried working’ amidst the pandemic.
- Recommended responses to address these issues that highlights:
- The importance of recognizing trauma and addressing the anxiety, stress, and fear that both inmates and staff are experiencing.
- Making legitimate resources and relevant information available to offer clarity and raise awareness on how to best prevent and deal with COVID-19.
- Providing creative and innovative solutions for both inmates and staff to access care in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
- Encouraging self-care routines through exercise and mindfulness during stressful times.
- Cross-training staff to facilitate the various services being offered in response to COVID-19.
Questions from the audience were about:
- Precautions we must exercise in jobs that require interaction with people.
- Recommendations on how to conduct group counseling sessions in compliance with social distancing protocols.
- Guidelines to consider when it comes to individuals who refuse to adhere to treatment/medication.
- Tips and tricks to deal with compassion fatigue for those working at home.
This is part of a 2-Part Series on Corrections and Covid-19:
- April 3: Maintaining Wellness of Staff and Inmates during Custodial Pandemonium
- April 9: Enhancing Resiliency of Staff and Inmate Populations (This Webinar)
- “The webinar gave me a much better understanding regarding the impact COVID-19 has on the prison population.” — Albert
- “Good to know the ethical and legal ramifications associated with the incarcerated population and decisions about services and releases. I had not looked at all the angles, and I spend much of my time considering ethical questions.” — Anne
- “Good reminder that during a public health emergency, services may need to be modified and can be. Dr. Horney’s epi information, as always, puts the situation in perspective and helps arm us with solid facts to use with staff and inmates.” — Dana
- “Keep up the good work with the various topics you keep providing. I am retired from the Canadian Criminal Justice System. FYI I belong to 3 Non-profit organizations involved with the Criminal Justice System and do advocate working a transition house with programming for (ex)offenders in Hamilton, Ontario. Your ongoing webinars keep me current and up to date on timely topic/trends. Thank you.” — Bob
- “I will be following up with our shift supervisors to see about helping with some self-care techniques that can be utilized at work, possibly conversations about how staff are handling the stress after work.” — Christina
- “Out of all the news I have been listening to, this is the first time I heard how much this was affecting minorities.” — John
- “I think the simplification of the facts and figures and realities we are facing was very helpful. Straightforward, be aware now so you can plan for the future, given the information presented.” — Jenny
- “I really loved that we are looking at staff mental health is also something important for us to look at. I loved the reminder that clients coping skill is often drug use if they are addicts and that is a risk factor for COVID.” — Julie
- “I think that the information that Dr. O spoke about was probably the most relevant and valuable part of the seminar. I actually intend to share it with my staff. Thank you so much.” — Wendy
Falcon Inc. brings together the most distinguished, credentialed leaders in the field. With dozens of specialized correctional mental health experts and hundreds of years of collective experience, Falcon Inc. exists to ensure your programs are successful and effectively address the unique challenges of your mental health populations. Grounded on proven methodology and driven by some of the best and brightest minds in the industry, we provide expertise to government and community leaders for the advancement of stronger, safer, and more innovative programs that produce real, sustainable results.