4/13/2021 DOC Pauses Johnson & Johnson Vaccine for Adults in Custody
As of this morning, the CDC and FDA are recommending that the United States pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine because of six reported cases of a "rare and severe" type of blood clot. Based on this new information, the Oregon Department of Corrections will be pausing J&J vaccinations until further notice.
The six reported cases were among more than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine administered in the US. The pause gives the CDC time to carefully review these cases and decide if they represent a significant risk to Americans. Until that process is complete, they are recommending a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine out of an abundance of caution.
This pause does not automatically mean the J&J vaccine is dangerous or unsafe in general. The European AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is an adenovirus vector vaccine like the J&J shot, was similarly found to have a side effect of blood clots in very rare cases. After careful review, the regulators said the benefits of the shot were still worth the risk.
If your incarcerated loved one received the J&J vaccine…
While these blood clots appear to be extremely rare, it is normal to worry. Adults in custody have been notified and know to monitor for signs of blood clot:
- Severe headache
- Abdominal pain
- Leg pain
- Shortness of breath
DOC Health Services is taking this news very seriously. The Oregon Department of Corrections additionally reports adverse events following receipt of any COVID-19 vaccine to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System.
3/29/2021 DOC Begins Process of Reinstating In-Person Visits
Since March 13, 2020, adult in custody (AIC) visitation has been suspended in response to COVID-19. It has been a long year, and the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) is happy to announce our institutions are thoughtfully preparing to reinstate in-person visits.
To ease into re-opening, DOC will run "visiting pilots" at select institutions, beginning with a pilot program at the Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP). By starting with pilot institutions, the agency can work out any potential difficulties prior to reinstating visits at other locations across the state. DOC hopes this approach will help alleviate pressure on employees working visiting and avoid unnecessary disappointment and stress for AICs and their loved ones.
To keep everyone safe during visiting, the following protocols have been established for the OSP visiting pilot program:
- All visits must be pre-scheduled. Scheduling for the OSP pilot begins today, March 29, 2021. OSP friends and family can call (503) 373-1332 to schedule.
- Only one visit can be scheduled at a time to allow more family and friends the opportunity to visit their loved one. The allotted visit must be completed before another can be scheduled.
- Visits will be approximately one hour long. OSP cannot account for visiting delays (such as a a visitor not having ID, wearing metal, not being current on their visiting status, etc.) or delays in retrieving AICs.
- All visits will be non-contact and social distancing will be enforced.
- AICs in quarantine or isolation will not participate in visiting.
- The number of visitors allowed in the visiting room will be based on available space when utilizing social distancing.
- Visitors will be symptom screened and temperature checked; visitors who are sick or symptomatic will not be allowed to visit.
- Both AICs and visitors must always wear appropriate face coverings and will perform hand hygiene immediately before and after the visit.
- Visitors will be assigned to stations to allow for contact tracing.
- No food or drink will be allowed.
- No photo ops will be offered.
- No toys, games, cards, or magazines will be accessible.
- Tables, chairs and other high-touch surfaces will be disinfected between visitation groups; all areas, to include lobbies and restrooms, will be cleaned following the completion of visiting each day.
DOC is thrilled to be bringing family and friends back together through visiting. Thank you for your patience as we begin the process of reinstating in-person visits.
3/10/2021 Vaccine Update
Every adult in custody (AIC) at the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) who wanted a vaccine has now had at least one dose. DOC has and will continue to use an "opt out" process for COVID-19 vaccines for AICs. This means that each AIC is called out to an appointment with a nurse or other healthcare provider, at which point the AIC receives a dose of the vaccine or affirmatively declines the vaccine. Individuals who initially opted out of the vaccination receive a follow up from Health Services in case they have changed their minds.
DOC has communicated information about the COVID-19 vaccine through educational materials, and AICs are regularly encouraged to talk to a healthcare provider to address any questions or concerns they have on the topic. We hope to encourage those in DOC custody to protect themselves and those around them from spreading the virus by getting vaccinated.
Below are some facts and figures about the vaccine rollout across DOC’s institutions:
|Total AICs offered COVID-19 vaccine||13,200 (entire population)|
|Total first doses administered to AICs||9,156|
|Current AIC acceptance rate||69%|
|Total second doses administered to AICs||1,256*|
*Many AICs who received their first dose will receive their second in the coming weeks.
9/21/2020 DOC to Re-introduce Professional Visits
The Department of Corrections will restart in-person professional visits. While still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and focusing on the safety and well-being of staff and adults in custody (AICs), DOC understands these professional visits are important. Facilities that do not have current, originating cases of COVID-19 will begin opening in-person professional visitation as early as next week.
To attorneys representing Oregon adults in custody:
As the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) brings back in-person professional visits for adults in custody, we want to clarify these visits will only occur in Tier 1 factilities (facilities that do not have current, originating cases of COVID-19).
Current information on tier status and definitions of each tier can be found on DOC's COVID-19 Response webpage
and Tracking Tool
. Other guidelines around professional visits are outlined below.
Requirements and safety precautions for professional visits:
- For AIC and attorney visits, no more than two members of the defense team will be permitted access inside the institution for the in-person visit. If additional team members need to participate in the professional visit, they will need to attend via secure video or telephonic visiting. If there are additional defense team members attending via secure video, they will be required to work with institution staff to test the video and audio connection prior to the video visit.
- Before being allowed access inside the institution for each in-person visit, defense team members will be screened. This screening includes having their temperature checked, answering a screening tool/questionnaire to assess the individual’s risk of exposure to the coronavirus and the existence of any active symptoms of infection/illness, and washing/sanitizing their hands.
- When entering the secured perimeter, we ask the visitor to limit what they touch as much as possible.
- Upon entering and exiting the Legal Hearing room, and other meeting locations, hands will need to be washed and sanitized in the restroom located in this area.
- There will be no contact – shaking of hands, hugging, etc.
- During all in-person professional visits, visitors and AICs will practice recommended social distancing measures as much as possible and will be required to wear masks.
- In-person visitors must remove their mask when being visually identified entering and exiting the institution.
- Prior to entering the institution all equipment must be sanitized.
- All individuals entering the facility for professional visits must provide information for contact tracing.
- AICs will need to wash their hands prior to the visit.
6/24/2020 Update on Re-opening Visiting
As part of the Oregon Department of Corrections’ COVID-19 continuing prevention efforts, normal visiting will remain canceled statewide until further notice
. This includes non-contact visits, family visits, and attorney visits.
I know many visitors hoped to see doors open in the coming weeks and are disappointed to hear this news. While we are gaining ground and seeing our numbers decrease significantly, our communities are seeing increased numbers. Given this, we fear we will see another spike if we open visiting at this time.
This was no easy decision, especially knowing it’s been months since kids have seen their moms and dads.
In the meantime, our Agency Operations Center is reviewing plans from each facility that include thorough screening processes and social distancing protocols in order to ensure safety for our employees, the adults in custody, and our communities.
When each facility can safely open their doors, we will make public notifications as soon as possible to help visitors plan.
5/21/2020 DOC Reports In-Custody Death with COVID-19
An Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) adult in custody (AIC) died on May 20, 2020. He was incarcerated at the Oregon State Penitentiary and passed away at a hospital. He tested positive for COVID-19. He was between 50 and 60 years old. Next of kin has been notified. As with all in-custody deaths, the Oregon State Police have been notified and the Medical Examiner will determine cause of death.
As of today, DOC has 38 employees who have tested positive and 148 AICs. For more information on cases, please visit DOC’s Tracking Tool
. The agency is responsible for the care and custody of 14,500 adults in custody who are incarcerated in the 14 institutions across the state.
Institutions are cleaning numerous times a day, including disinfecting housing units, bathrooms, eating areas, doors, stairwells, countertops, etc. Posters have been placed in all DOC institutions encouraging adults in custody to wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, to cough and sneeze into their elbow, and to avoid touching their face. Institutions have placed handwashing stations at entrances for staff before entry. Health screening processes are in place before staff are allowed to enter facilities.
At the beginning of April, Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) began manufacturing utility masks at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, Two Rivers Correctional Institution, and Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. These masks are designed to reduce the amount of droplets expelled from a person’s cough or sneeze. Every AIC has been offered two masks and employees offered one.
DOC is identifying the especially vulnerable population within the institutions and intensifying the efforts to reduce potential exposure and transmission. If an AIC becomes ill and exhibits flu-like symptoms, then CDC and OHA guidance for supportive care will be followed.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, DOC issued a press release when an AIC passed away. This notification would include the person’s name, county of conviction, sentence length, and date of death. However, no cause of death would be listed because the Medical Examiner makes that determination. In order to balance the desire for transparency with our legal obligation to protect personal health information, we have changed the AIC death notification process when someone dies who has tested positive for COVID. DOC is working with the Oregon Health Authority to publish COVID-19 related data and information on the OHA website.
5/20/2020 Update on Re-opening Visiting
Many of you, and your friends and family, have been asking when DOC will re-open visiting. While we don’t have a specific answer, it is on our minds. The department recognizes how important visiting is to both you and your loved ones. We will open visiting as soon as we possibly can and not increase the spread of COVID-19 in our institutions.
The state has put forward guidelines on when it will be safe for Oregon to re-open. The goal is to protect Oregonians and open in safe and thoughtful ways to ensure COVID-19 won’t continue to spread. This means Oregonians will need to continue practicing physical distancing and mask-wearing while counties prepare to re-open.
Each county can begin re-opening when:
- The number of people with new COVID-19 infections has dropped for two weeks or there are less than five COVID-19 hospitalizations.
- There is enough safety equipment for doctors and health care workers.
- There are enough hospital beds to care for people with COVID-19.
- Tests are available, and there is a way to track COVID-19.
At the appropriate time, DOC will be mirroring the statewide approach. We will begin to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so in each location. Our top priority is to make sure our facilities are safe and your health is protected.
5/11/2020 OSP on Security Lockdown
The Oregon State Penitentiary is locked down today, and all AICs will remain in their cells. Last night, fights broke out on the yard, and a tower officer fired a warning shot. Approximately 70 AICs were taken to the Disciplinary Segregation Unit (DSU). No employees were injured, and there were only minor injuries to AICs. This modified operation will continue until the institution can be operated safely for all employees and AICs. Please know, AICs will not be able to use the phone system until normal operations return. DOC is committed to keeping all those who work and live in Oregon’s prisons safe and healthy.
5/8/2020 Change to Operations at OSP
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Oregon State Penitentiary has had to modify institution operations. These changes will temporarily impact adult in custody access to phones. We appreciate your patience as we work through this challenging time.
4/12/2020 Visiting Suspension Continues
All current suspensions, restrictions, and modifications made to our operations will remain in place until we can safely return to normal. We know things can change quickly, and we will keep you updated of any new information. Visiting is still suspended until further notice.
4/3/2020: DOC's First Adult in Custody Tests Positive for COVID-19
The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) today announced the first adult in custody (AIC) within the Oregon state prison system to test positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The patient is in stable condition and is being treated on-site.
The patient is at Santiam Correctional Institution in Salem, Oregon, and will soon move to an institution with 24-hour nursing care. The positive test result was received April 2. Additional details cannot be shared about his protected health information.
If an AIC is showing signs and symptoms of influenza or COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, they will be tested. DOC uses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidance on appropriate criteria for testing. Those being tested and/or awaiting results are on respiratory isolation.
“We have been preparing for the spread of COVID-19 into our institutions, worksites and Community Corrections offices since the beginning of March,” said Director Colette S. Peters. “Even with all of our preventative measures, like restricting visiting, social distancing, and suspending any programs, we knew the first case was inevitable because our institutions are microcosm of our communities. Our agency has focused on this virus and how best to reduce the impact inside our institutions. The necessary protocols are in place to protect our employees and the adults in our custody as best we can. This is a difficult time for all Oregonians, including those in our care. I know the family and friends of the adults in custody are extremely concerned for their loved ones. I can assure you, we are taking all necessary measures to operate safe and secure institutions where people can work and live and stay healthy.”
SCI has taken several steps to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. These actions include: suspension of visiting and volunteer services, canceled group activities, house vulnerable AICs together, slowed down meal line in order to social distance.
DOC is now contacting all people who entered the institution in the last seven days. All AIC’s will be screened and any presenting with symptoms will be tested for COVID-19.
As people are tested and test results are returned, DOC will provide updated numbers on the DOC website. DOC is collaborating with our local public health officials, coordinating with the OHA, and following the CDC recommendations to prevent the spread COVID-19. DOC is following OHA’s guidance on long-term care facilities and law enforcement recommendations and CDC’s interim guidance on management of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in correctional and detention facilities.
SCI is a minimum-security prison in Salem that houses approximately 480 AICs who are within four years of release. The facility concentrates on work opportunities, most of which are in the form of work crews contracting with state agencies, local organizations, and private industries within a 60-mile radius of Salem.
4/1/2020: First COVID-19 Case Reported - Oregon Department of Corrections Employee
An employee at the Oregon State Penitentiary has tested positive for
novel coronavirus (COVID-19). For more details, please see our COVID-19 Tracking Tool
and visit our Communications Library
to view new documents and communications.
3/24/2020: Salem Dome Building Closed to the Public
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Dome Building is closed to the public. Only Department of Corrections employees, pre-approved visitors, water delivery, and Shred-it services are allowed entry.
Dome building employees should reference the Deputy Director’s 3/24/20 email message detailing modified operations.
The Department of Corrections remains committed to supporting Oregonians. For general inquiries, please call (503) 945-9090 or email DOC.email@example.com
Thank you for your doing your part to keep our state safe and healthy.
3/17/2020: Keeping Adults in Custody in Contact with Loved Ones
Last week, the Oregon Department of Corrections suspended visiting in its 14 prisons for 30 days. Working together with GTL-Telmate, DOC’s communications provider, each adult in custody will be provided two 5-minute, no-cost phone calls per week for the next 30 days, beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
We will revisit this after 30 days and will continue to explore options for AICs to keep in contact with their families.
DOC commends GTL-Telmate for this act of understanding, support, and compassion during this difficult time. The agency recognizes that efforts to maintain family connections between those incarcerated and their loved ones is essential, especially in stressful times. Furthermore, we know these healthy relationships reduce the risk of future criminal behavior and will continue to explore options for AICs to keep in contact with their families.
3/14/2020: Video Message from Our Deputy Director
Oregon Department of Corrections Deputy Director speaks on the agency's response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Watch the video now
3/12/2020: All Visiting Suspended in Response to the Coronavirus
Following the State of Emergency issued in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Oregon, the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) has suspended all visiting at all 14 state prisons. This is the first time DOC has suspended visiting state-wide. This change is effective March 13, 2020 and will be reviewed in 30 days. This restriction will include non-contact visits where people speak to one another through glass. This will also include limiting institution access to only essential staff.
DOC has no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 at this time. One adult in custody (AIC) has been tested for COVID-19, and the test came back negative.
“All of us at the Oregon Department of Corrections value visiting and especially the connections that visiting affords to family and friends. We know these relationships reduce the risk of future criminal behavior. However, during this State of Emergency, it is critical we take appropriate precautions necessary to protect our employees and those in our care and custody. This decision was not made lightly, and we understand the impact that this necessary action will have on the people in our custody and on their families. We are working hand-in-hand with our state and local partners to keep our institutions as healthy as possible. We will resume normal visiting schedules as soon as humanly possible," said Director Colette S. Peters.
DOC is collaborating with our local public health officials, coordinating with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), and following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations to prevent the spread COVID-19. DOC Director Colette S. Peters is a member of Oregon Governor Kate Brown's Coronavirus Response Team.
DOC is following OHA's guidance on long-term care facilities and law enforcement recommendations. These changes are to protect AICs who are at the highest risk inside our institutions. DOC's Health Services employees have identified 1,400 AICs who are over 60 years old, immunocompromised, or multiple comorbid medical conditions.
DOC is working with our AIC communications services providers to provide alternatives to in-person visiting at a reduced cost. DOC joins a list of other state corrections agencies that have suspended access. This is the first time DOC has suspended visiting state-wide.