Q. What steps is UDC taking to mitigate the potential spread of the virus within facilities?
A. We are proactively working to prevent an outbreak while also preparing for a potential outbreak of the Coronavirus within our facilities. Some of these measures include: suspending 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.
Q. Are those entering UDC facilities being screened for the Coronavirus?
A. Screening processes are in place, including for offenders, staff and others entering or moving between facilities. Any suspected cases will follow the protocols identified by the Governor's Office, which may include immediate isolation and testing following initial screenings.
Q. Is UDC testing symptomatic offenders or staff?
A. 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 will be 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.
Q. Is UDC equipped for an outbreak within any of its facilities?
A. We are more than adequately prepared with supplies of protective gear and sanitation products. In addition, we are educating staff and offenders on how to utilize these items.
Q. Is the Parole Board still holding public hearings?
A. Public access is currently limited at this time. You can learn more on the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole website here: https://bop.utah.gov/index.php/2-uncategorised/165-bopp-coronavirus-information
Q. How is community supervision being addressed in accordance with the Governor’s most recent guidelines?
A. We have implemented some changes to be in accordance with the Governor’s recommendations on social distancing, and have communicated these changes to offenders on supervision.
AP&P continues to actively monitor offenders, and work closely with partner law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety.
Q. Are you considering releasing inmates or offenders early?
A. 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.
Q. What programming and educational classes have been cancelled?
A. 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
Q. My offender is housed at a county jail, are they implementing the same protocols as the UDC?
A. 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.
Q. Will an incarcerated individual be charged a copay for any COVID-19 related medical treatment?
A. Any potential medical treatment provided to an incarcerated individual related to COVID-19 will not be charged a copay.
Q. Can you tell us why there's been an increase in lockdowns over the past few weeks at both the Utah State Prison in Draper and the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison?
A. We appreciate your patience as we continue to implement measures to prevent the introduction or spread of COVID-19 within our facilities, and to promptly identify any potential cases of COVID-19. These actions may cause a facility or facilities to temporarily lock down.
In the event that we do have a confirmed case, it's our intent that any individual who is isolated or quarantined will have access to communicate with their families while still following the recommendations of local health officials and the CDC.
Q. How is commissary impacted by COVID-19?