With the continued drop in COVID-19 cases in our institutions, and the increase of vaccine availability throughout the state’s prisons, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) are launching a common-sense reopening plan. The Roadmap to Reopening is anchored in health care guidelines and guidance to ensure the safety and wellness of everyone who lives, works, or volunteers in our institutions, while also allowing a safe, phased return to important rehabilitative programs and social interactions.
CDCR recognizes the tough but necessary decisions made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted every person who lives and works in our state prisons, and their loved ones, and we are eager to get back to normal in a safe and responsible manner.
Throughout reopening, staff, program providers and volunteers must continue to adhere to COVID-19 precautionary and infection control measures such as complying with physical distancing, enforcing facial coverings, handwashing, testing requirements, symptom screening upon entry, and frequent disinfecting of spaces and activity items between uses. Criteria for entering an institution will be updated in accordance with public health guidelines.
- The Roadmap to Reopening takes place in three phases:
- Phase 1: most restrictive;
- Phase 2: partial reopening;
- and Phase 3: normal operations, with long-term modifications in place to put a lasting emphasis on health and hygiene.
- Working collaboratively, the Warden and Chief Executive Officer (who oversees patient care) at each prison will be responsible for determining when it is appropriate for their institution to move between phases.
- Each of California’s prisons is unique, from physical design and geographic location to the needs of the population. In deciding when and how to move between phases, Wardens and CEOs will consider all factors, including number of active population cases, institutional layout, type of housing, and necessary interactions between incarcerated people, staff and non-employees for health care, programming, and security needs.
- Various facilities within a prison may be in different phases at different times due to their design and population needs.
- Progressive reopening of programs and services will be reviewed weekly.
- Phase I (Outbreak Phase)—The facility has a current outbreak among the population (defined as three or more related COVID-19 cases) or is recovering from a recent outbreak (no new outbreak cases in the last 14 days).
- Phase II (Modified Phase)—The facility has had no new outbreaks in the last 14 days. Must revert back to Phase I if there’s a reported outbreak.
- Phase III (New Normal Phase)—The facility has had no new related outbreak cases in the last 28 days. Must revert back to previous phases as appropriate if there’s a reported outbreak.
Ongoing COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) have implemented numerous COVID‐19 protocols to keep our staff, population and community safe. With the continued drop in COVID-19 cases in our institutions, and the increase of vaccine availability throughout the state’s prisons, we have been able to implement a phased Roadmap to Reopening plan with ongoing COVID-19 precautions.
In an effort to keep the momentum going, each institution has been instructed to form a COVID Mitigation Team (COMit). The goal of the COMit is to provide ongoing education to staff, at the peer level, on the importance of COVID compliance, to provide updates to staff on the latest CDCR/CCHCS COVID‐19 policies, the importance of mask wearing, physical/social distancing, precautions outside of work, testing, and the vaccination program.
The COMit will be comprised of an unlimited number of staff volunteers from all professions who will be identified as COMit Advocates. The efforts of the COMit is crucial to support the Department’s recovery from the COVID pandemic as they encourage staff to continue to follow COVID precautions and safety measures.