State of New Jersey
       
Department of Corrections
"Protecting Public Safety by Changing Offender Behavior"
Commissioner
                         Marcus O. Hicks, Esq.
NJDOC

COVID 19 Updates

DOH CONFIRMED COVID CASES AT THE NJDOC

Last updated: 5/29/2020 8:50:34 PM

PRISONS AND ANCILLARY LOCATIONS
EMPLOYEES
INMATES
INMATE DEATHS
Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center7524114
Bayside State Prison5760
Central Office Headquarters2000
Central Reception and Assignment Facility551321
Correctional Staff Training Academy200
Custody Recruitment Unit200
East Jersey State Prison931228
Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women77882
Garden State Youth Correctional Facility361580
Mid-State Correctional Facility60721
Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility291890
New Jersey State Prison581135
Northern State Prison1421049
South Woods State Prison192535
Southern State Correctional Facility791060
Totals752165445
DOH CONFIRMED COVID CASES AT NJDOC RCRP’s AND ASSESSMENT CENTER (HALFWAY HOUSES)

Last updated: 5/29/2020 8:50:34 PM    *RCRP staff are not NJDOC employees.

RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY RELEASE PROGRAM
INMATES
INMATE DEATHS
Bo Robinson Assessment and Treatment71
Clinton House00
Columbus House00
CURA, Inc.00
Fenwick House00
Fletcher House10
Garrett House00
Hope Hall10
James A. Hemm House20
Kintock Bridgeton 100
Kintock Bridgeton 200
Kintock Newark30
The Harbor House40
Tully House10
Totals191

As of 5/29/2020 12,507 tests have been administered to the inmate population – 1,673 positive and 10,834 negative.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions – as of 5/20/2020

The New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) takes the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) seriously, and in consultation with the Department of Health, has taken proactive measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. These action steps are outlined in the frequently asked questions below.

. Are staff and incarcerated individuals being screened for COVID-19 before entering an NJDOC facility?

Yes. The NJDOC is conducting health screenings of all individuals entering its facilities that includes a temperature scan and subsequent questionnaire detailing recent travel activity and contact with individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.

. Are inmates provided with masks?

Yes, all inmates and residents are provided with masks for use during the COVID-19 pandemic with instructions on proper usage.

. Are inmates and NJDOC staff being tested?

Yes. The Department has launched the largest state universal testing initiative for both inmates and staff utilizing the Rutgers University saliva test.

. Is the Department providing housing for NJDOC staff who may need to self-quarantine or medically isolate?

The Department is offering non-congregate “alternative” housing for all staff members who have been exposed to the virus to not have to worry about transmitting the virus to their loved ones. Staff can contact their regional HR manager for additional details.

. How is the Department determining who should be quarantined?

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, individuals who have come in contact with a person who has COVID-19 are required to be quarantined for 14 days. Contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for more than 10 minutes. Secondary contacts are not required to quarantine. For example: John has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Mary was in a meeting with John for more than 10 minutes, sitting less than 5 feet away. Mary then had a meeting with Tim, also longer than 10 minutes and sat 4 feet away from John. Under the CDC guidance Mary would be required to self-quarantine for 14 days where Tim would not.

. Is social distancing being enforced throughout NJDOC facilities?

The Department is taking this issue very seriously and continuously assessing and amending its policies as the CDC and New Jersey Department of Health issue new guidance. The NJDOC is practicing social distancing among its workforce and limiting foot traffic in facilities with the implementation of flexible work arrangements for non-essential personnel that includes a reduced and rotational workforce. As it pertains to the incarcerated, group activities, dining, recreation, religious gatherings, and education have been either suspended or modified to minimize potential exposure and encourage social distancing. For example, individuals are provided access to religious materials and are encouraged to practice their faith in their living quarters. Also, educational programs have been adapted in support of independent study.

. What procedures is the NJDOC using to keep facilities clean?

All facilities have enhanced sanitization efforts using bleach. The Department also provides access to hand sanitizer (when available) and unlimited access to soap, while also educating all on CDC guidance on mitigating the spread of germs.

. What operational steps has the Department taken to mitigate the impact of COVID-19?

  • Ensuring proper staffing to maintain the safety and security of its facilities.
  • Managing and ensuring the reserve of PPE and disinfecting products.
  • Sanitization of our facilities and fleet.
  • Requiring all who enter our facilities to undergo a health screening with temperature scan and wear Department-issued surgical masks.
  • Suspending inmate visits with the exception of lawyer visits, while providing provisions for continued communication with loved ones.
  • Suspending community inmate details.
  • Suspending the inter-institutional transfers of inmates for visit hardship reasons.
  • Establishing facility quarantine units and expanding the capacity for medical isolation.
  • Holding all new inmates at intake for 15 days while monitoring for COVID-19.
  • Suspending county jail intake.
  • Implementing work from home/flex/alternative schedules for non-essential staff to reduce foot traffic in facilities and accommodate for social distancing.
  • Distributing masks to staff and the incarcerated.
  • Modifying inmate gatherings to accommodate for social distancing, including recreation, dining, education, religious gatherings.
  • Partnering with the Administrative Office of the Courts to suspend evaluations for detainees or those pending criminal proceedings, thus reducing foot traffic at ADTC.
  • Reducing the number of inmates on each bus or van when conducting transports.
  • Assessing all transports on a case-by-case basis.
  • Partnering with NJ State Parole Board and the Administrative Office of the Courts regarding the scheduling of essential services and hearings.
  • Modifying treatment plans where medically advised and expanding the use of keep on person medications for the inmate population in support of social distancing.
  • Implementing independent treatment support for substance abuse programming.
  • Launching the state’s largest universal testing initiative for both NJDOC staff and inmates.
  • Tracking all confirmed COVID-19 cases on our website.
  • Temporarily suspending the inter-institutional transfers of inmates released from a Restrictive Housing Unit to a General Population Unit,
  • Suspending all non-critical out-patient appointments or clinics at regional locations.
  • Halting construction projects throughout the department with the exception of essential services to the power plants, water treatment plants, waste water treatment plants and critical infrastructure repairs.

. How can I contact my loved one while visitation is suspended?

The Department recognizes that families provide critical support and has increased access to other forms of communication such as telephone calls, JPay kiosk usage and access to U.S. mail postage, free of charge, to maintain ties to loved ones. Even when an individual is in medical isolation or quarantine, access to communication devices are available and are sanitized after each use.

. Is educational programming affected by the COVID-19 outbreak?

Group classes have been suspended to accommodate for social distancing. In the interim, an independent education program has been implemented and a limited number of educators will continue to report on a reduced rotation schedule to distribute coursework and be available if students need additional help or guidance.

. What is being done for the elderly and vulnerable people in custody?

Under Executive Order No. 124, the NJDOC is granting temporary emergency home medical confinement to certain at-risk inmates who have not committed a serious offense, during the public health emergency. Eligible populations include individuals aged 60 years older; individuals with high-risk medical conditions, based on CDC COVID-19 guidance; individuals who will complete their sentences within the next three months; and individuals who were denied parole within the last year. Each case is to be assessed by an Emergency Medical Review Committee that would make individualized determinations of whether home confinement would better serve an eligible inmate. A copy of Executive Order No 124 can be found here https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-124.pdf

. How does the social distancing mandate apply to offenders that sleep in dorms?

Current housing situations will remain in place unless there’s a medical need for specialized housing such as medical quarantine or medical isolation.

. What happens if someone in the offender population shows possible signs of COVID-19 inside a facility?

The NJDOC has prepared quarantine and medical isolation accommodations for asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals, respectively, across its facilities. If someone shows possible signs of COVID-19 the NJDOC medical team in partnership with the Department of Health will determine testing needs and next steps for those who exhibit COVID-related symptoms; this includes quarantining, medically isolating, or transferring the impacted to a hospital, as needed.

. What happens if an employee shows possible signs of COVID-19 inside a facility?

The Department is taking every precaution to mitigate the spread of the virus, including:

  • Providing health scans of all staff and state agencies entering our facilities and requiring that they wear Department-issued surgical masks
  • Providing N95 masks, as medically prescribed, to employees managing individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and surgical masks to all other employees
  • Equipping inmates with masks
  • Limiting foot traffic across our facilities to essential personnel
  • Restricting transfers from county facilities
  • Temporarily suspending all inter-institutional transfers based on an inmate’s request for visit hardship across NJDOC facilities.
  • Modifying activity schedules to accommodate for social distancing guidance
  • Enhancing sanitization and providing employees and inmates access to sanitization products
  • Temporarily suspending visitation, except for visits related to legal representation

Should an employee test positive, that individual will be instructed to self-quarantine or self-isolate at home. NJDOC will notify all individuals who have been in contact with the individual so that they can self-quarantine, as directed by the Department of Health. The Department would also quarantine inmates that have been in contact with the individual while monitoring symptoms.

In terms of our operations, the Department has a contingency plan in place to ensure appropriate staffing coverage across our facility that does not compromise public safety.

. Is the NJDOC waving all medical copays at this time?

Yes.

. Is my loved one eligible for early release?

Under Executive Order No. 124, the NJDOC is granting temporary emergency home medical confinement to certain at-risk inmates who have not committed a serious offense, during the public health emergency. Eligible populations include individuals aged 60 years older; individuals with high-risk medical conditions, based on CDC COVID-19 guidance; individuals who will complete their sentences within the next three months; and individuals who were denied parole within the last year. Each case is to be assessed by an Emergency Medical Review Committee that would make individualized determinations of whether home confinement would better serve an eligible inmate. A copy of Executive Order No 124 can be found here https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-124.pdf. Inmates will be notified directly by the Department of their eligibility, approval or denial status.

. How can I submit medical information to support a request for temporary emergency medical home confinement?

The Department will assess eligible individuals based on the criteria set forth in the Executive Order utilizing institutional medical records.

Pursuant to N.J.S.A, 30:4-91.3b, the lists will not include inmates with convictions of murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. Inmates serving a sentence for an offense subject to provisions of the No Early Release Act N.J.S.A 2C: 43-7.2, will be excluded from the lists as well.

Relevant medical records can be sent to EMHC@doc.nj.gov . Please be advised that this email is solely for providing NJDOC verifiable medical documentation for a NJDOC inmate which demonstrates that he/she has a medical condition that puts him/her at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19. No other communications will be addressed via this email address. In the subject line you must indicate the inmate’s full name AND SBI#.

If the inmate has already been contacted and considered for Emergency Medical Home Confinement under EO#124, this email address is to be used to appeal the NJDOC’s determination.

. How will I know if my loved one is eligible for the temporary emergency medical home confinement?

Inmates will be notified directly by the Department of their eligibility, approval or denial status.

. How can I find out what my loved one’s status is for release under Executive Order 124?

Because of the fluidity of the process we are unable to provide information as to where in the process your loved one is. However, the inmate will be notified directly by the Department of their eligibility, approval or denial status. Family and friends of the inmate who are listed as their “community support contact” will be notified of the time of release with pick-up logistics.

. What does the process for releasing individuals under Executive Order #124 entail?

Under the Executive Order, the NJDOC creates a list of individuals who meet the qualifying criterial for consideration as defined in the Order. Upon completion of that list, NJDOC sends it to an Emergency Medical Review Committee. The Committee must review the case file of each individual who is eligible for consideration. The Committee receives a list of eligible individuals on a rolling basis and has seven days to send the NJDOC Commissioner its recommendations on whether each eligible individual should be placed on temporary home confinement. The Committee will provide individualized determinations as to whether home confinement would be appropriate for an eligible inmate. As part of the review process, the Committee reviews temporary home confinement conditions and the furlough placement plan in order to determine whether the home is a safe environment for the inmate and those currently in the dwelling. This requires a thorough in-person home assessment for each person who is going to be recommended for release. The Committee must also have received and reviewed input from prosecutors and victims on the potential of placing the inmate on temporary home confinement before making recommendations for release.

After completing its review, the Committee will send the NJDOC Commissioner its recommendations on whether each eligible individual should be placed on temporary home confinement. After receiving the Committee’s recommendation, the NJDOC Commissioner will have three days to make a decision on whether to grant emergency medical home confinement.

Placement on the referral list does not guarantee release.
Inmates will be notified directly by the Department of their eligibility, approval or denial status.

. How does NJDOC determine who will be tested? Will testing be provided for prisoners who request it or show symptoms?

The Department is proactively testing all individuals as part of the largest state COVID-19 universal testing initiative. Inmates who test positive will be medically isolated or transported to a hospital for additional care, as medically prescribed.

. Have you looked into canceling state transports? What about my loved one who had a routine health appointment in the community?

All nonessential medical trips are on hold effective immediately and will be reassessed when appropriate. Essential medical trips will continue.

. Are transfers happening between institutions and from jails?

Out of an abundance of caution, the Department is:

  • suspending the transfer of inmates from county jails;
  • holding all new inmates for 15-days at the Central Reception and Assignment facility prior to transferring individuals to their assigned institutions; and
  • temporarily suspending all inter-institutional transfers based on an inmate’s request for visit hardship across NJDOC facilities.

All other transfers including those required for operational security and medical are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

. Are laundry operations modified due to COVID-19?

At this time, the CDC is not recommending any changes to the current processing standards for the commercial laundry industry. According to the CDC, there is a higher risk of exposure with close direct person-to-person contact than with indirect contact of potentially contaminated objects (such as laundry). The NJDOC will continue to utilize standard universal precautions in the handling and processing of all contaminated materials. As a precaution, NJDOC has enhanced the disinfecting of its laundry facilities.

. What steps are you taking to protect staff?

Department is taking every precaution to mitigate the spread of the virus in its facilities including:

  • providing health screenings of all individuals entering NJDOC facilities;
  • providing N95 masks, as medically prescribed, to employees managing individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and distributing surgical masks to all employees and state agencies, within our facilities to mitigate the spread of other respiratory diseases;
  • providing universal testing
  • enhancing sanitization and providing employees access to sanitization products;
  • adhering to social distancing guidance in prison activities;
  • limiting foot traffic across our facilities, including:
    • reducing non-essential workforce
    • restricting transfers from county facilities
    • suspending visitations
    • temporarily suspending all inter-institutional transfers based on an inmate’s request for visit hardship across NJDOC facilities.
  • providing non-congregate alternative housing for employees who have been exposed to the virus so as to not have to worry about exposing their family members and loved ones.

. What special precautions are you taking for inmates that are soon to be released?

From a health perspective, as part of our regular discharge processes, all inmates nearing release will undergo a medical assessment that will now include CDC guidance on how to protect themselves from COVID-19. The discharge process also includes linkages to resources that provide support to offenders, from state-issued identification, to medical care coverage, medical services and housing support along with a two-week supply of prescription medication for existing conditions.

. What measures are in place in Residential Community Release Programs (RCRP) and Assessment Center?

NJDOC has instituted several measures to mitigate the spread of the virus at Residential Community Release Programs (RCRP) and Assessment Center. These include:

  • Enhanced sanitization across our halfway houses and fleet.
  • Increased access to hand sanitizer for staff and soap for inmates, while also educating residents on all CDC guidance on mitigating the spread of germs.
  • Health screenings for all those entering the halfway houses that includes temperature scans twice daily.
  • Requiring all who enter to wear surgical masks.
  • Suspending large group events and ensuring smaller activities are aligned with social distancing guidance.
  • Temporarily suspending visitations, while offering other forms of communication such as telephone calls and access to U.S. mail postage, free of charge, to maintain ties to loved ones.
  • Advanced preparation for medical quarantines and medical isolation as medically prescribed.
  • Suspending work programs until further notice.
  • Suspending all transfers of inmates from NJDOC facilities to RCRP's and Assessment Centers and from RCRP's and Assessment Centers to other RCRP facilities.
  • Analyzing each RCRP and Assessment Center return to ensure only those returns that are deemed crucial are being returned to an NJDOC facility.
  • Requiring approved returns to be medically quarantined at the NJDOC regional facility for a 14-day period from the date of transport to ensure no signs of COVID-19 or other illness are present.
  • Housing RCRP inmates returned for serious disciplinary infractions at the regional facility with their respective court line process.

. What happens if an RCRP's or Assessment Center employee has a confirmed case of COVID-19?

Should an RCRP's or Assessment Center employee test positive, that individual will be instructed to self-quarantine or self-isolate at home. The facility staff will notify all employees who have been in contact with the confirmed so that can self-quarantine, as directed by the Department of Health. The Department would also quarantine inmates that have been in contact with the individual, on site.

. What happens if an inmate residing at an RCRP's or Assessment Center gets sick?

If an inmate either exhibits signs of illness or seeks medical assistance, the RCRP/Assessment Center staff will contact medical staff at the regional prison institution via phone to determine if an in-person assessment is needed. If medical staff determines that an in person evaluation is not needed, the inmate patient will be provided medical education through the regional institution’s registered nurse via phone.

If medical staff determines that an in-person evaluation is needed, the inmate patient will be brought to the regional facility, and assessed in a pre-determined area so as to not mix with any other inmate patients and/or staff.

Inmate patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms are evaluated by medical staff and placed in medical isolation units in the facility or transferred to a hospital as medically prescribed. Individuals in medical isolation at a prison facility may be released from medical isolation seven days from the onset of symptoms and at least three days after the resolution of fever and significant improvement in symptoms. Inmate patients in the isolation unit must wear surgical masks for movements in and out of the unit. The staff, both medical and custody, must wear full PPE in and out of the isolation unit.

Inmates admitted to a hospital will return to a facility once medically cleared and will be placed in a regional facilities infirmary where they will be monitored for co-morbid conditions as they recover from their illness. RCRP/Assessment Center residents shall remain at the regional facility until it is determined by the Office of Community Programs to be operationally effective to transfer them.

Inmates with known exposure to COVID-19 shall be quarantined in a specifically designated quarantine unit within the facility. The inmates shall be monitored by medical staff. If the inmate becomes symptomatic during this 14-day quarantine period, they will be evaluated for medical isolation or referred to a hospital for evaluation and testing.