Coronavirus

DOCCS COVID-19 Report

Regular Update

Notice Regarding Statewide Visitation Modification

Updated March 25, 2022
 
We have continued to monitor the effects of COVID-19 within our institutions and in the outside communities, and the positivity rate continues to decline.  Our greatest concern continues to be the safety and well-being of our employees and those individuals within our care, custody, and supervision. 

 

As a result of the decline in the overall positivity rate, effective Saturday, March 19, 2022, we will again allow the visitor and the incarcerated individual to engage in a short embrace at the beginning and the end of any contact visit.  All other modifications previously enacted as part of the restoration of visitation will remain in effect until further notice.

 

Recognizing the importance of family and visitation, while being mindful of the critical need to continue protecting staff and the incarcerated population within our facilities, we will continue with visitation at this time.  However, the Department currently requires all visitors age 2 years and up, regardless of vaccination status, to take a COVID-19 test on site, with a home test kit provided by the Department.

Visitors will be provided their home test kit at the facility processing area.  The visitor will exit the facility, self-test, either in their vehicle or other area, and return for continued processing only if they have tested negative.  Each visitor must present the negative test to the officer in order to be processed.

 

All approved FRP participants, age 5 and older, must be fully vaccinated to participate. 
All participants over the age of 5 must provide a copy of their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or a screen shot of their vaccination record via the NYS Excelsior App, documenting that they are fully vaccinated.  Family members can either print the screen shot from the Excelsior App, which proves they have been fully vaccinated, or make a copy of the Official Vaccination Record Card.  Documentation can either be e-mailed to the FRP Offender Rehabilitation Coordinator (ORC) at
[email protected], or it can be mailed to the attention of the FRP ORC at the facility where they are participating in the program.  This documentation must be received before a FRP visit can be scheduled.

 

***It is strongly recommended that visitors traveling to a facility by bus get tested prior to boarding the bus. This will not only prevent riders from endangering the health of other passengers, but will also ensure visitors do not make the trip, only to be denied entry to a facility following a positive test. Please note: those who receive a test prior to visiting are still required to take a test on site.***

 

In addition, the previously announced criteria will also remain in effect: 

 

  • Visiting rooms will operate at half capacity to facilitate social distancing. Facilities with outside visiting areas will utilize such areas if weather permits.
  • All visitors, incarcerated individuals and staff will be required to wear a mask during processing and during the visit, regardless of vaccination status or proof of a negative test result.  Masks may be temporarily removed for processing, and while eating or drinking items purchased from the vending machines.  Masks must not have any pictures, writings, or sayings on them.  If a visitor does not have a mask, the visit will be denied.
  • Visitors will be screened with the questionnaire and temperature check prior to being allowed to visit.  In facilities with a hospitality center, the screening shall occur at the entrance to the hospitality center.
  • Visiting will be divided into specific segments of the population (i.e., alpha by name or numeric by DIN) to ensure that each incarcerated individual can have two weekend visits per month, as published on our website.  Weekday visiting at maximum security facilities will remain in place.
  • Each visit will be limited to three adult visitors (unless the current facility policy specifies less) and one child, under the age of five, who must sit on an adult’s lap, with no cross visiting allowed.
  • All movement in the visiting area will be controlled by staff to ensure social distancing.
  • A minimum of one porter will be assigned to the area to disinfect each table as the visit is complete, as well as the vending machines, and other shared areas.
  • The children’s area will remain off-limits.
  • Incarcerated individuals in quarantine or isolation will not be permitted to visit until they are determined to be recovered.
  • Packages will be allowed in accordance with current policy; and
  • Limits will be placed on the number of visitors at any one time in the hospitality center, processing area and pathways to the visiting room, in order to maintain social distancing between persons.
 
NOTE:  These provisions are subject to change and visitation could again be suspended should there be an increased infection rate or if conditions change in the community.  
 
As we modify the current visitation criteria, it is not only critical, but continues to be required, that all staff wear a mask while on duty and for all incarcerated individuals to wear a mask when leaving their cell or cube. The wearing of the mask and accepting the vaccinations are the most important precautions any person can take in order to defeat COVID-19.  Masking requirements are regardless of vaccination status or proof of a negative test result.
 
It is critical that we continue to follow the safety protocols that have been put in place for everyone’s safety to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses as follows: 
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Social distance. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, especially before you eat.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze. 
  • Avoid sharing food and utensils.
  • Report any symptoms promptly; and
  • Wear your mask when on duty or not in your cell or cube.
The Department remains committed to protecting the health and safety of staff, the incarcerated and parolee populations, as well as visitors.  Thank you for your continued patience and compliance with the various COVID-19 safety protocols that have been enacted and modified throughout the pandemic.  As we continue to monitor COVID-19, we will issue additional guidance as necessary. 

Click here to learn more about the mobile contact tracing app, COVID Alert NY. The app is voluntary and anonymous, and notifies users if they were in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

 

May 17, 2022

 

DOCCS COVID-19 CONFIRMED

 

Staff

Incarcerated Population

Parolees

12949

10594*

590

*Of these confirmed cases, 10,500 are now recovered and out of isolation.

 


 
DOCCS COVID-19 CONFIRMED DEATHS

 

Staff

Incarcerated Population

Parolees

18

44

9

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 10 days.

DOCCS CONFIRMED BY FACILITY 

Preparedness

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  masks.
  • Supplying incarcerated individuals subject to isolation and quarantine with surgical-type masks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

New Protocols

 
FACILITIES

Masks
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.

 
Releases
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.

 
Additional Phone and Tablet Services
Effective September 1, 2021

The Department recognizes the importance of family and the ability for the incarcerated population to communicate with them.  As a result, instead of eliminating all of the free services provided during the height of COVID on August 31, 2021, we have renegotiated our existing phone contract, and are in the process of doing the same with our tablet contract, to permanently provide a number of free calls and secure messages for each incarcerated individual per month and at the same time, reduce the overall per minute calling rate and stamp cost.  Effective September 1, 2021, the free reply Wednesday and the newsstand offering will be discontinued, and the following provisions will take effect:

  • Domestic Per Minute Call Rate - The domestic per minute call rate and total cost per minute rate will be reduced from $.0430 per minute to $.0399 per minute; and
  • Free Calls - Each incarcerated individual will receive one free 15-minute call per week that will be made available every Saturday at 7:00 a.m. and will be associated with the first call made during each week.  The free call will not carry forward from week to week.
  • Stamp Price Reduction – The single stamp price will be reduced from $.33 per stamp to $.25 per stamp for single purchases, with stamp bundles being similarly reduced from $.23 to $.17 per stamp for a bundle of 100 stamps.
  • Free Stamps - Each incarcerated individual with access to a general confinement tablet and kiosk will receive four (4) free stamps to use for secure messaging per month.  (The stamps are not available for use while an individual is serving a disciplinary confinement sanction)  Stamps are added to your account on the first of each month and the incarcerated individual will have the full month to utilize the stamps.  The stamps do not accumulate from month to month.
Legal Visits
Legal visits will be conducted as non-contact as requests are submitted and that option remains available within the facilities.

 

COMMUNITY SUPERVISION

Community Supervision will take a phased-in approach to re-opening operations across the State. In accordance with the NY FORWARD guidance, we will allow the bureaus to begin re-opening on a regional basis consistent with the NY FORWARD regional Control Center process in regions that have been approved for Phase 2. Each bureau’s re-opening within an approved NY FORWARD designated region will be continually re-evaluated within each re-opening phase:

  • The bureaus will begin to take office reports incrementally in a multi-phased approach;
  • All staff and parolees will be required to wear a mask during the office reports; 
  • A scheduling system will be used for each bureau(s);
  • Each parolee will be scheduled at a rate of one per 30-minute block;
  • Report days will be increased, and report hours expanded, as needed, to minimize density;
  • Staff and parolee will wear a mask during in-person interviews;
  • Staff will monitor and screen all staff, visitors and parolees in accordance with current COVID-19 policy; and
  • Waiting rooms will be demarcated for social distancing.

 

BOARD OF PAROLE

Interviews

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.

 

COVID-19 Resources

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, the Governor's office 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.

NYS on pause

 
New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Tracker

New York State has launched a new website to provide New York’s comprehensive COVID-19 testing data to the public

DOH COVID-19 Tracker

 
New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Webpage

DOH Covid-19 info

 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Webpage

CDC COVID-19 INFO