How is UDC working to prevent and isolate spread of COVID-19?
UDC continues to work with state and local health officials regarding COVID-19 protocols. The Department continues to adhere to CDC protocols.
Individuals are being housed appropriately based on quarantine and isolation protocols.
Steps we’ve taken to prevent spread include the following: adhering to CDC guidance regarding visiting and volunteering; placing strategic signage throughout our facilities for staff and offenders regarding preventative steps and recognizing symptoms; identifying areas for isolation and quarantine for those exposed, symptomatic or confirmed; strategizing on limiting movement between facilities or other outside locations; providing additional sanitizing materials; and educating staff and offenders on the use of protective gear and sanitization.
We are committed to keeping incarcerated individuals informed and updated on COVID-19 within our correctional facilities. Along with interpersonal communications (with appropriate social distancing and PPE) and memos, we have also provided each incarcerated individual with various informative material, which includes a newsletter and information on face coverings and containment procedures.
Is UDC testing symptomatic offenders or staff?
We are in direct contact with the Utah Department of Health, so when an offender is symptomatic for the Coronavirus, we can promptly address their needs and coordinate directly with outside medical providers. Suspected cases are immediately isolated and tested following initial screenings.
Measures are already in place where any staff member with symptoms has been directed to stay home and to notify the chain of command. We have also notified staff to utilize the Governor’s website (coronavirus.utah.gov), which helps the community to better understand when and how to access care if they have symptoms of the virus.
Are you considering releasing inmates or offenders early?
The Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) is making referrals to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole (BOPP) for release of incarcerated individuals, who are already within 180 days of their scheduled release date and have an approved address.
You can learn more here: https://corrections.utah.gov/index.php/home/alerts-2/1239-utah-identifies-early-releases-to-create-additional-capacity-within-correctional-facilities
What programming and educational classes have been cancelled?
Protecting the welfare of incarcerated individuals during this extraordinary time of COVID-19 is a top priority. This has impacted the timely completion of programming for some, who have been relocated within the prison to protect their health and welfare. We are working to resume our full programming capacity while still being in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and state and local health officials. You can learn more here: https://corrections.utah.gov/index.php/family-friends/programs-for-inmates
My offender is housed at a county jail, are they implementing the same protocols as the UDC?
We know that many county jails are taking similar steps toward prevention and containment. We would recommend contacting the county jail directly if you have specific questions.
Will an incarcerated individual be charged a copay for any COVID-19 related medical treatment?
Any potential medical treatment provided to an incarcerated individual related to COVID-19 will not be charged a copay.
How is commissary impacted by COVID-19?
We are taking measures to keep incarcerated individuals as safe as possible, which may include an increase in lock downs, but this should not directly limit access to commissary; although there may be times where a facility may see a short delay in delivery of items.
Are incarcerated individuals provided with face coverings?
All incarcerated individuals have been provided two cloth face coverings. Guidance has been provided that when their covering shows wear and tear, the incarcerated individual can communicate with their officer to acquire a new one.
Are face coverings mandatory?
Both staff and incarcerated individuals are required to wear a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. In areas where there are active cases, staff are required to wear an KN-95.
Are vaccines available to incarcerated individuals?
Incarcerated individuals who have not been vaccinated can request a vaccination by submitting an Inmate Care Request form (ICR), which is available in their housing units.
The Department has begun offering booster vaccines, and anticipates those offerings expanding to all incarcerated individuals over the coming weeks.
Vaccination rates are anywhere from 60 to 92 percent depending on the facility. For example, the Oquirrh 5 facility where many of our most medically fragile are housed is at a 92 percent vaccination rate.
Vaccines and other treatments are not mandatory but are offered and encouraged.