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Frequently Asked Questions


​DOC is working with the Governor’s Office and the Oregon Health Authority to monitor the COVID-19 virus and its potential impacts to our organization. These decisions are dictated by information provided through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)​. We are also represented on Governor Brown’s Coronavirus Response Team, so we can coordinate our efforts with other agencies.

​DOC has a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) for each institution and division that identifies essential functions and how operations would continue should an incident affect employees, adults in custody, buildings, or equipment. Due to safety and security information within the COOP, it is confidential.​

​The Oregon Department of Corrections has 14,500 adults in custody and 4,500 DOC employees.

Allowed Access​
​Not allowed access
​All DOC employees
​Outside medical contractors (BHS, medical, dental)
​End of life visitors
​Parole and Probation Officers
​CDC work crews

​Current construction contrators

​Vendor services (UPS, vending machines, etc.)

​​Professional visitors (attorneys, law enforcement, etc.)


​If a significant event occurred inside an institution that impacted current operations, DOC would issue a press release. This is our standard procedure.

​Phone calls, messaging, video visits, and other alternative methods of communication are already available to adults in custody and their loved ones.

The Oregon Department of Corrections recently changed to a new service provider. Visit the CenturyLink website​ for more information on how to stay connected with your loved one.

Health and Safety

All our institutions are cleaning numerous times a day, including disinfecting housing units, bathrooms, eating areas, doors, stairwells, countertops, etc. At all our institutions and worksites, we use Waxie 710 to clean and disinfect.

Posters have been placed in all DOC institutions encouraging adults in custody first and foremost to wear their face coverings when six feet of social distance cannot be maintained. Posters and other information distributed to adults in custody also promote washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, coughing and sneezing into the elbow, and to avoid touching the face. These are the most effective methods to prevent the spread of illness.

​On March 23, Governor Kate Brown issued Executive Order (EO) No. 20-12 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. A portion of that EO directs government buildings to implement social distancing measures to the maximum extent possible. The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) has taken several actions to implement social distancing at our institutions, community corrections offices, and worksites. 

Our top priority is safe and secure operations of our facilities for staff and adults in custody (AICs). While DOC facilities were not designed to keep people six feet away from one another, Oregon’s 14 prisons have implemented several social distancing measures:
  • All DOC prisons are closed to visitors, volunteers and the majority of contract employees. This visiting closure is unprecedented. 
  • We have modified line movements to limit the number of AICs in common areas.
  • Chapel seating is measured to maintain social distancing and attendance limited.
  • AICs are staying together by unit.
  • Staff have placed blue tape on the ground six feet apart, indicating where people should stand in line.
  • We have limited the number of AICs that can sit at dayroom tables
  • We have eliminated group activities in the yards.

Regarding housing, AICs live in either a dorm or a celled housing unit. We are limited in using other areas of the institutions, like classrooms and corridors, for housing space because AICs must be supervised by DOC employees. 

Other DOC Worksites
The Dome central office administrative building in Salem has been closed to the public and employees are working from home to the greatest extent possible. 

Linn and Douglas County Community Corrections have changed daily operations:
  • Their lobbies are restricted to only those clients who have just released from prison, jail or court. 
  • Visits with Parole and Probation Officers (POs) are conducted through glass and there are a limited number of POs in the office at one time. ​

At the beginning of April, Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) began manufacturing utility masks at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution. These masks are a single layer 50/50 poly cotton blend and are designed to reduce the amount of droplets expelled from a person’s cough or sneeze. OCE planned to initially produce 30,000 (now increased to a goal of 60,000) masks for voluntary use by DOC employees and adults in custody to reduce the spread of potential contagions in the facilities. All adults in custody were offered two masks and employees one. At this time, employees and adults in custody are expected to wear a mask when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.

October 8, 2020 Update:
In an effort to further decrease the spread of COVID-19, the Agency Operations Center (AOC) has acquired N95 masks to be available as enhanced face coverings for distribution to DOC employees and adults in custody (AICs). Newly available guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and discussions with Oregon Health Authority encourage the highest level of protection whenever available.  Facial coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease.

Three of the N95 masks will be available for employees and AICs through Health Services at each DOC location. They should be washed and allowed to dry completely before reuse. More face coverings will be available each month.​

All masks provided to staff and adults in custody are for barrier and comfort and do NOT take the place of appropriate PPE for those with, or in close contact with, COVID-19. Confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and health professionals in direct contact with these individuals wear a fitted N95 facemask in addition to other appropriate PPE. You can learn more about protective gear on the CDC website. We are also encouraging regular handwashing and sanitizing surfaces, as these have been proven as the most effective way to prevent the spread of illness​.

Updated 10/15/2020

​All adults in custody (AICs) have access to soap and water, sinks, and handwashing stations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)​ recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but they do not eliminate all types of germs the way handwashing does. Like the CDC, we are encouraging all AICs to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds.

Current housing situations will remain in place. If an adult in custody is showing signs and symptoms​ of flu/COVID-19, including new fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and/or new loss of taste or smell​, they are tested as healthcare providers direct.

Institutions are following the CDC/OHA guidance on social distancing to the best of their abilities. Our institutions are not built for this unprecedented situation, but staff are committed to doing everything possible to enact social distancing measures, masking, and isolating patients with COVID-19 disease who can receive supportive care within the institutions.

Updated 5/12/2020

Adults in custody who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 will reach out to Health Services via staff member or kyte. After a full assessment by Health Services, the AIC may be tested for COVID-19 (depending on the results of the assessment, their symptoms, and other factors). If an AIC tests positive for COVID-19, the patient will be placed in medical isolation (and promptly transferred to an institution with 24/7 medical care if necessary). Patients who are too sick to remain within the institution will be sent to local hospitals for further evaluation and treatment. 

Updated 7/2/2020

If an adult in custody is showing signs and symptoms of flu/COVID-19​, including new fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and/or new loss of taste or smell​, they will be tested as healthcare providers direct.

DOC is also conducting targeted concentric contact testing of asymptomatic adults in custody who have been in close contact with a confirmed positive case.

DOC uses CDC/OHA guidance on appropriate criteria for testing. Those being tested and/or awaiting results are placed in respiratory isolation.

Updated 5/12/2020

DOC is presently able to test for COVID-19 in patients according to, and through, Oregon State Public Health Laboratory (OSPHL) capacity. DOC is also using another (contracted) lab partner to administer additional tests as needed.​

Updated 5/12/2020

​It is not possible for us to know exactly how many employees have been tested for COVID-19 as that information is not always shared with us because it is protected health information. It is our hope that all Department of Corrections employees share test results with us so we can assist them with pay and protected leave time while they are recovering. 

DOC is reporting confirmed positive COVID-19 cases and recoveries among staff on in our COVID-19 Tracking Tool​.

Updated 10/16/2020

​About 85% of DOC’s staff are represented employees—with positions falling under either AOCE or AFSCME labor unions. Labor agreements with both unions have strict specifications for situations where DOC can require medical information or medical testing from an employee.
Two examples of when the labor agreements allow DOC to require medical information or testing include:
  • An employee is clearly intoxicated/under the influence while on the job (Security staff only)
  • An employee exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 during their routine screening (currently required each time an employee reports to work)​​
In the second example, employees will be denied access to the work site until they can present information that proves they are medically safe to return to work. While this proof doesn’t have to be a negative test result, it often is—however, in some cases a doctor’s note or some other form of proof may be more appropriate.
In other words, mandatory testing would violate labor agreements that are put in place to protect workers’ rights and prevent abuse. Labor agreements cannot be changed outside of the bargaining procedures per the Oregon’s Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act (PECBA), and DOC’s bargaining units would strongly oppose the proposal of mandatory testing.

However, upon arriving for work at a DOC location, all employees undergo a thorough health screening before they are permitted to enter the facility. The screening includes a temperature and symptom check.

DOC has an established process to offer each adult in custody (AIC) an immunization against influ-enza (respiratory flu). DOC Health Services schedules a flu shot for all AICs who do not decline the shot in writing. An AIC may decline to receive the immunization at any time, including at the time of the appointment.

DOC has identified the especially vulnerable population within the institutions and has intensified efforts to reduce potential exposure and transmission. If an adult in custody (AIC) becomes ill and exhibits flu like symptoms, we then follow CDC and OHA guidance for supportive care.

Transport and Release

In late June, the Governor made the decision to commute the sentences of 57 medically vulnerable adults in custody. Read the details on the Governor's website​.

In September, Governor Brown once again asked the Department of Corrections to provide a list of individuals incarcerated who are medically vulnerable to COVID-19 or within two months of release. A final list of 69 was provided to Governor Brown on September 18, 2020. 

Per the Governor’s request, DOC will provide an updated list of AICs to the Governor every other month going forward. As requested by the Governor, adults in custody on the list must meet criteria for either Group 1 or Group 2 below to be eligible for commutation:

Group 1: Medically vulnerable
  • Be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, as identified by DOC medical staff; 
  • Not be serving a sentence for a person crime; 
  • Have served at least 50% of their sentence; 
  • Have a record of good conduct for the last 12 months; 
  • Have a suitable housing plan; and 
  • Have their out-of-custody health care needs assessed and adequately addressed prior to the date set for their early release.
  • Not present an unacceptable safety, security, or compliance risk to the community.
Group 2: Projected release date within two months
  • Be within two months of release as calculated by DOC;
  • Not be serving a sentence for a person crime;
  • Have a record of good conduct for the last 12 months;
  • Have a suitable housing plan prior to the date set for their early release;
  • Have their out-of-custody health care needs assessed and adequately addressed prior to the date set for their early release.
  • Not present an unacceptable safety, security, or compliance risk to the community.

About Early Release:
The Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) does not have statutory authority to release adults in our custody prior to their scheduled release date; only the Governor of Oregon and the Parole Board have that authority.

There are specific criteria for compassionate release available to a very limited number of individuals in our custody. Under Oregon law, to be considered for this type of release, it is required that adults in the custody of ODOC meet this criteria, and are: (a) suffering from a terminal illness; or (b) elderly and permanently incapacitated in such a manner that the individual is unable to move from place to place without the assistance of another person. DOC works with the Board of Parole to provide required information to those AICs requesting early release. (ORS 144.122 and ORS 144.126)

The Oregon Constitution gives the Governor executive clemency power (Article V, Section 14: Reprieves, commutations and pardons; remission of fines and forfeitures). As it stands now, the focus is on aggressive social distancing measures, as evidenced by the recent Executive Order and the Stay Home, Save Lives campaign. 

Updated 10/16/2020

​Scheduled releases will proceed as usual, though extra precautions are now taken in the release process to prevent releasing AICs from bringing the virus into the community.

Alternative Incarceration Program (AIP)
  • Alternative Incarceration Programs​ (AIPs) can impact release dates. All AIPs that are run by agencies contracted by the Oregon Department of Corrections have been suspended. This means the adults in custody (AICs) in those AIPs will have an affected release date. There are two small AIPs, one at CCCF and one at SCI, that are operated by DOC staff and they are still operating. 
  • AIPs that are suspended will impact those participants‘ release dates, since their release is advanced as a result of completing the requirements. The AICs will remain eligible for regular earned time reductions per their sentencing orders.
UPDATE 5/12/2020: Beginning May 1, modified AIP programs in our institutions will gradually resume at Columbia River Correctional Institution and Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. Powder River Correctional Facility will reopen the AIP the following week on May 8. In general, those engaged in AIP when the programs were suspended will return to those activities to complete the remainder of their program.​

Other DOC Programs that Impact Earned Time
  • All other programming suspended or modified at this time will not affect release dates. For example, those enrolled in a General Education Development (GED) program will not be impacted since their release dates have only the regular reductions available. 
  • AICs can still accrue earned time sentence reductions even though they are not able to do any programs. An AIC only fails to accrue the earned time for programming through their refusal or failure in the required programming, not due to stoppages due to instructor availability such as in this example of a required person not able to do GED. 
  • AICs assigned to education, treatment, work assignments, and other pointed programs that have been impacted will continue to receive their points toward the performance recognition award system (PRAS).​

Updated 5/12/2020

All adult in custody transfers are coordinated through DOC's Agency Operations Center for institutions designated Tier 2 through Tier 5​ to ensure the greatest degree of safety and to prevent further spread of the virus.

Only essential transfers between institutions (for extreme security or health reasons), and to and from jails for intake and court are occurring at this time. DOC and county jail partners have taken measures to reduce even essential transfers as much as possible.

Updated 5/12/2020

Events and Programs

​The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) is operating the Short-term Transitional Leave​ (STTL) program as usual. There have been no changes to approval criteria or processes. 

One of the key criteria for STTL participation is approved housing. All adults in custody (AICs) releasing to a personal address (non-shelter or transition bed), should see no interruption in their release to STTL. A few counties are experiencing a sharp decline in the availability of shelter/transitional/subsidy housing beds as their housing providers are attempting to manage social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes attempts to operate at 50% capacity and not accepting new intakes. This impacts STTL as the AIC must have an approved address prior to release.

This is a very fluid and changing situation for all of us. DOC is committed to keeping impacted staff and AICs informed of changes as they occur.​

​Daily operations will vary by institution. Events that do not allow for social distancing have been cancelled or modified for greater health and sagety. Adults in custody who have work opportunities inside the institutions will continue to participate in those if it is deemed safe to do so. Dayrooms, recreation areas, libraries, and chapels  are available and/or have been modified based on the institution's number of cases, the ability to maintain social distancing, etc.

Updated 5/12/2020

​Events like weddings, graduations, and special visiting that were previously scheduled should be considered cancelled until further notice. We know events are extremely important to adults in custody and their loved ones, and we will do everything possible to ensure future events remain scheduled once it is safe to do so.

Oregon Corrections Enterprises (Laundry Services)

​OCE is currently serving 33 customers in the health care industry, including public and privately-operated hospitals.

​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). OCE will continue to utilize standard/universal precautions in the handling and processing of all contaminated materials for staff and adult in custody workers.  As a precaution, OCE had increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of our laundry facilities.

​OCE follows Association of Linen Management (ALM) standards. ALM recently released a statement on COVID-19​ and resources for healthcare laundries and their customers. This release reiter-ates the processing of linen according to standard/universal precautions. 

Early Medical Release Requests

Eligibility requirements for the Oregon Board of Parole's Early Medical Release are available on their website.

If you believe an adult in custody meets the requirements linked above, you can initiate a medical release request by calling (503) 934-0780 or sending an email.

Due to the volume of Early Medical Release requests, the Parole Board and DOC will be focusing its limited resources on those individuals whom the Department of Corrections has identified as the most medically fragile or vulnerable. Due to the substantial influx of requests for early release, the board may assess other requests as the Board’s resources allow.

Additional Questions

Contact our general inbox for other questions or requests.