*Of these confirmed cases, 409 are now recovered and out of isolation.
DOCCS COVID-19 CONFIRMED DEATHS
NOTE: The official cause of death is determined and released by the County Medical Examiner's Office
DOCCS Confirmed Incarcerated Population By Facility
For security reasons, DOCCS is not disclosing information on the facility where those impacted work or are hospitalized.
With each confirmed case, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) works with the New York State Department of Health to identify any potentially exposed individuals to provide notifications and to stop the spread of the virus.
The testing process is currently the same for those in prison as it is for those in the community. Our physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, working with our nurses, are following the guidance of the NYS Department of Health and incarcerated individuals are tested when exhibiting symptoms and after a medical evaluation is conducted. In addition, if an incarcerated individual is quarantined (mandatory or precautionary) and has shown symptoms of COVID-19 illness, or if facts and circumstances warrant, as determined by the treating clinician in consultation with state and local department of health officials, they are also isolated and tested.
Our process identifies patients who are ill and require special monitoring and care and isolates those who create the greatest risk of transmission to others. Asymptomatic patients who wear a mask and follow social distancing and hand hygiene guidelines have minimal risk to others. A nurse will swab the individual and that swab is then sent to an authorized lab. As we await the results, the individual is isolated. If an individual’s test result is positive that person is maintained in isolation for a minimum of 14 days.
In its history, the Department has successfully managed infectious outbreaks, such as tuberculosis, AIDS, and Hepatitis C. DOCCS maintains a comprehensive Pandemic Flu protocol that has been modified for COVID-19.
DOCCS retains supplies, equipment and other resources that are being made available, as needed, for impacted correctional facilities during the spread of this infectious disease. As with the occurrence of any widespread public health threat, the Department is involved in ongoing discussions and preparations, including protocol review and emergency supply inventory to ensure that the Department’s policies and procedures are as up to date as possible. The Department also has negative air flow isolation rooms and Regional Medical Units.
Emergency control plans are in place at each facility and regularly reviewed. Each plan is uniquely designed to meet that facility’s needs. These plans include preparedness measures, response mechanisms, and short- and long-term recovery provisions. The Department has been and continues conducting table-top exercises to prepare for additional positive cases.
The Department employs medical staff specially trained in infection control in facilities across the state and has plans for each facility to implement to deal with significant staff absences.
In addition, a COVID-19 Task Force has been created and meets regularly to monitor and assess all actions and potential actions in response to this public health crisis. The Department’s executive team has consistent communication with all Facility Supervising Superintendents, Superintendents, as well as Community Supervision Regional Directors and Assistant Regional Directors as a means of monitoring in real time all COVID-19 related issues that arise within the system.
Ongoing communication is delivered to staff and incarcerated individuals on preventative measures to stay healthy, including the top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health recommendations, as well as cleaning guidelines issued by the New York State Office of General Services.
What DOCCS Is Doing
The Department takes the continued spread of this global health emergency seriously and shares the same concerns as staff, incarcerated individuals, and their loved ones.
Our focus is ensuring that the hardworking men and women of this Department, as well as our incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations, are healthy and safe. Just as we have successfully managed infectious outbreaks in the past, we have emergency protocols in place and have proactively made adjustments in our facilities and community supervision offices in an attempt to limit any outbreaks.
Each action we take in response to the spread of COVID-19 is done in the best interest of those who work and are incarcerated in our facilities or supervised in the community. We will continue to evaluate all options as this situation unfolds.
Here are some of the measures DOCCS has initiated to ensure the safety and well-being of staff, incarcerated individuals, and parolees:
- Mandating all staff to wear face masks while on duty.
- Supplying all incarcerated individuals with surgical-type masks.
- Supplying incarcerated individuals subject to isolation and quarantine with surgical-type masks.
- Allowing the incarcerated population to use state-issued handkerchiefs as masks.
- Suspending all intake of incarcerated individuals from county facilities.
- Stopping internal transfers of incarcerated individuals, except for medical and other exigent circumstances.
- Suspending visitations through June 1, 2020, at which time the suspension will be reviewed for possible extension.
- Working with phone and tablet vendors to ensure continued access to some weekly free calls and secure messages for the incarcerated population
- Expanding offerings to the incarcerated population through the general population tablet program.
- Requiring non-essential staff to remain home.
- Implementing a health/travel questionnaire for staff entering facilities and community supervision offices.
- Displaying posters with information on COVID-19 and safety tips throughout DOCCS facilities and offices statewide.
- Regularly showing a video to the incarcerated population and staff at the facilities on proper handwashing.
- Issuing enhanced cleaning/sanitizing measures and disinfecting procedures for office surfaces and devices consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State Department of Health guidelines, including working with landlords to ensure cleaning protocols are followed under the appropriate guidelines with increased frequency throughout offices especially high-risk areas and issuing appropriate protocols on how to clean vehicles.
- Suspending in-person reports of individuals under state community supervision through June 1, 2020, at which time the suspension will be reviewed for possible extension.
- Suspending the ability for individuals under community supervision to transfer to other locations.
- Releasing low-level technical parole violators from local jails.
- Issuing hand sanitizer to all facilities for staff and the incarcerated population to use, as well as community supervision offices.
- Enlisting Corcraft, an entity of DOCCS, to develop and bottle a 75% Isopropyl alcohol-based formula as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) at three facilities: Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Washington County, Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Ulster County, and Albion Correctional Facility in Orleans County.
Effective April 9, 2020
To continue protecting staff and the incarcerated population from COVID-19 entering or leaving our facilities and community supervision offices, staff are permitted, and will be provided, a face mask to wear while on duty. The Department supports this use if there is a chance it may slow or even stop the spread of this virus from entering our facilities.
Incarcerated individuals subject to quarantine are issued a surgical-type mask to further reduce the risk of any secondary transmission of COVID-19. DOCCS gives the population surgical type masks plus two cloth masks, which have been donated.
Effective March 27, 2020
DOCCS was directed to release low-level technical parole violators from local jails. The Department immediately identified individuals under parole supervision who were detained in a local jail pursuant to a warrant resulting from an alleged technical violation, including absconders.
Following an individualized review, the Department began canceling parole warrants where the individual has identified adequate housing is available and the release of the individual does not present an undue risk to public safety. Based on initial estimates, this action could impact up to 1,100 people, including 400 people in New York City and 700 people throughout the rest of the state.
Furthermore, new procedures temporarily modified the issuance of violations to ensure that people who would be subject to release under these protocols are not detained in the first place.
This significant action is being taken in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in local jails over the past few days and weeks. Our top priority remains the public health and safety of New Yorkers during this global public health emergency and this measure will further protect a vulnerable population from contracting and transmitting this infectious disease.
Effective March 14, 2020
Suspended at all correctional facilities through June 1, 2020
The Department’s greatest concern continues to be the safety and wellbeing of our employees and those individuals within our care, custody, and supervision during this developing public health emergency. In order to continue to appropriately manage this public health crisis, it is necessary for the Department to extend the suspension of all visitation, including the Family Reunion Program, through June 1, 2020, at which time the suspension will be reviewed for possible extension.
While in-person visitations are impossible to replace, the Department will provide the following benefits to encourage individuals to keep in contact with their family and friends during this temporary suspension. All incarcerated individuals have tablets for reading, education, communication, and other uses.
The Department continues to work with phone and tablet vendors to ensure continued access to some free calls and secure weekly messages. The Department is offering the following additional benefits to encourage individuals to keep in contact with their families and friends:
- Phone Calls. Incarcerated individuals will continue receiving three free phone calls, up to 30 minutes, each week through Saturday, June 6, 2020 per Directive 4423, "Inmate Telephone Calls". Free calls are available starting at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and are associated with the first three calls made weekly. Unused calls do not carry forward from week-to-week.
- Secure Message Stamps. Incarcerated individuals with access to a general confinement tablet or kiosk will continue receiving two free stamps each week to use for secure messaging through Saturday, June 6, 2020. Stamps are added to accounts on Friday afternoon and do not accumulate. They replenish weekly based on use.
- Free Prepaid Reply Wednesdays. Through June 3, 2020, secure messages sent by friends and/or family members on a Wednesday will be accompanied with a free pre-paid stamp to enable the incarcerated individual to reply to the sender.
- General Population Tablet Program.
- Free weekly movie. The vendor will continue making all four movies available at one time and extending access through June 6, 2020.
- Free weekly game. The vendor will continue making all four games available at one time and extending access through June 6, 2020.
- Newsstand. Beginning Friday, May 1, incarcerated individuals will receive a free month's subscription to the vendor's Newsstand application. The Newsstand provides access to local and world news, sports and current events. The tablet must be updated to receive the Newsstand application and to subscribe to the service. Daily updates are available via kiosks.
- Free Stamps. The Department will continue to make five free stamps per week available to the population for general correspondence per Directive 4422, "Inmate Correspondence Program".
Effective March 14, 2020
Family reunion programs are suspended through June 1, 2020, at which time the suspension will be reviewed for possible extension.
Effective March 14, 2020
Legal visits will be conducted as non-contact as requests are submitted and that option remains available within the facilities.
In-Person Parolee Reports Suspended in All Counties
Effective March 20, 2020 through June 1, 2020
The Department has suspended office reports, including off-site reporting locations, for all persons under community supervision. The temporary suspension of office visits is designed to increase social distancing and minimize group gatherings. The Department’s community supervision staff will continue to maintain contact with the parolee population to ensure public safety.
Specifically, parolees will have their in-person office supervision contacts suspended until June 1, 2020, at which time the suspension will be reviewed for possible extension. Department staff will use technology, such as telephone calls, text messages, videoconferencing, GPS electronic monitoring, and other methods to maintain contact. This electronic contact will count as a positive field contact during this interim period.
As this public health emergency rapidly develops, the Department will closely monitor the situation and extend this precautionary measure to a future date as necessary.
BOARD OF PAROLE
The Board of Parole is continuing to conduct interviews and issuing determinations. Decisions will continue to be issued within two weeks of the interview date.
The May 18, 2020 Board of Parole business meeting has been postponed.
For more information on COVID-19 and New York’s response, visit the following websites
New York on PAUSE
New York State is working to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As a further protective measure, Governor Cuomo issued New York State on PAUSE, a 10-point policy to assure safety for everyone. It includes a directive for non-essential businesses statewide to close in-office personnel functions, a temporary ban on all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason, and steps to ensure the well-being of all New Yorkers.
New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Tracker
Governor Cuomo has launched a new website to provide New York’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing data to the public
New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Webpage
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Webpage