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
NEW ADOC FACE MASK PRODUCTION PROGRAM
NEW PREVENTATIVE MEASURES IN PLACE
- 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.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES UNDER REVIEW / IN PROGRESS
- 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.
- 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.