It’s been a year since the world shifted as nations hurried to enforce limitations on people’s social mobility in response to the ballooning casualty of the novel coronavirus. The infection rate is unprecedented and the death toll, alarming – sending the world in panic as medical facilities struggle to keep up. Jails and prisons are segments of the community that required special attention due to the elements of close living quarters of the inmates, the comings and goings of those detained or incarcerated, and just the sheer population of the facilities.
Jim Martin leads this webinar to outline the lessons learned so far in the corrections setting on how to best deal with COVID-19. Jim has more than 20 years’ experience in law enforcement and has served the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office in Southern Indiana and the Major County Sheriff’s Association (MCSA). He is currently the Vice President for Program Development with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC).
His discussion revolved around:
- The basic steps to an effective response for corrections focusing on social distancing and limitations, raising awareness, stocking on supplies, curbing exposure and transmission, and screening for symptoms.
- Considerations within the facilities that look at health care available, protecting the staff, and preparing the supplies required to respond.
- A rundown of the relevant NCCHCS standards providing guidelines to prepare a facility dealing with a pandemic that dissects:
- The delivery of the needed level of care including continuity during incarceration and discharge.
- Planning, communication, and coordination across stakeholders for effective response.
- The Planning P and it’s five phases that serve as the pathway for effective emergency services and response plan in jails and prisons.
- Differentiating the terms isolation and quarantining and how both are used to protect the public from preventing exposure.
- Guidelines for contacts in accordance with CDC standards – looking at isolation, the PPE recommendation, and general contact with the population.
- Prevention practices to observe for the different aspects of correction – the staff, the inmates, intake, operation, and symptomatic individuals.
- Creative social distancing and preventative techniques that can be implemented in the jail and prison settings and reminders in cohorting infectious disease cases.
- A glimpse into the vaccination schemes and trends for the corrections setting across the US.
- Considerations for an inmate’s reintegration into society amidst the pandemic.
- Factors to take into account for future outbreaks that take a proactive approach by preparing the human resources, critical equipment, and supplies as well as looking into policies and procedures.
- The concerns that sheriffs are pre-occupied with related to the pandemic.
- Recommendations and resources to prepare for the future and ensure that corrections facilities and their staff and population are equipped to handle whatever possibilities or risks they face.
Questions from the audience were about:
- Making vaccinations mandatory.
- Trends in terms of vaccinations for inmates.
- Jails that need help in terms of COVID-19 response and vaccination efforts.
- Correlation of COVID presence in jails to that of the community.
Other Webinars in this Series
- NCCHC and COVID-19: Lessons We’ve Learned in our Facilities (this webinar)
- Aug 5: Suicide Prevention: A NCCHC Resource Guide
- Aug 31: Ahead of the Curve: How Facilities Managed during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Oct 26: Working Together: Health Services and Custody Fostering Better Relationships
Resources and Handouts
- “I have had several incarcerated victims contract the virus. Seeing that our jails (for better or for worse) are similarly handling the virus.” — Aaron
- “So tired of COVID but I recognize these discussions are essential. Thank you.” — Julie
- “The Pandemic has altered the outlook of how these kinds of emergencies are to be handled in the Criminal Justice realm and we are still continuing to adapt to the altering changes this virus has caused.” — Julio
- “The ability to listen and evaluate if my facility is doing everything we can to reduce/eliminate the transfer of COVID-19.” — Lawrence
- “That is a process that takes time and everybody has to do their part we can get through this.” — Marc
- “The presenter was great at explaining differences with terminology and between jails and prisons.” — Yvonne