With the continued drop in COVID-19 cases in our institutions, and the high vaccination rates among the population throughout the state’s prisons, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) have issued updated reopening guidance to our 34 institutions.
The Roadmap to Reopening provides a general guideline, allowing hiring authorities and their teams to determine specifics that meet the operational and safety needs of their institution’s unique circumstances and how best to apply those specifics.
Effective Wednesday, February 16, 2022, institutions will now be identified as either in “Open Phase” with ongoing public health precautions, or in “Outbreak Phase” with restrictions in place intended to mitigate spread of COVID-19. Each facility within an institution may be considered separately, or an institution can be considered a single facility if the geographic layout does not allow for feasible separation of the population and/or staff.
The Roadmap takes into consideration the recommended guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health, our health care partners, and other stakeholders.
Movement between the two Phases will be determined jointly by the Warden and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of each prison, depending on their individual case factors. Movement between the two Phases may apply to individual facilities or, based on design, an entire institution.
In each phase, staff will ensure COVID-19 precautionary and infection control measures are adhered to, including: complying with physical distancing, enforcing facial coverings, handwashing, encouraging vaccination, testing compliance, and frequent disinfecting of spaces and activity items between uses. Criteria for entering an institution will be updated in accordance with public health guidelines.
Roadmap to Reopening
Open Phase (New Normal):
- To move to Open Phase, the facility must have no new population outbreak cases for 14 days, as noted above.
- To the extent that facilities are in different phases, incarcerated persons from different facilities are not permitted to program together unless jointly approved by Warden and CEO.
- If the facility experiences a COVID outbreak among the population, the facility shall revert to Outbreak Phase restrictions.
General Provisions for Institutional Operations, Programs, and Health Care Services:
- Return to normal operations for all programming and activities.
- Staff shall follow the December 8, 2021, memo “Increasing Capacity for Indoor Group Activities, Programming, and Visiting”
- An outbreak is defined as three or more related cases of COVID-19 among incarcerated persons within the past 14 days.
- During the Outbreak Phase, operations, programs, and services will be restricted to minimize the risk for ongoing COVID transmission.
- Continue to conduct Outbreak response testing as laid out in the CCHCS Interim Guidance.
- To move from Outbreak Phase to Open Phase, the facility must have had no incarcerated population outbreak cases for at least 14 days.
General Provisions for Institutional Operations, Programs, and Health Care Services during Outbreak Phase:
- Closed to in-person and family visiting, volunteers, and activities involving outside groups.
- Video visiting is not allowed for isolation and quarantine housing units.
- Closed to media access, film requests, and stakeholder tours.
- Outside vendors, non-essential contractors, or non-employees are not permitted, other than those who are essential for supplying needed goods. Essential vendors, contractors, and non-employees include:
- Integrated Substance Use Disorder Treatment program providers, including Alcohol and Other Drug Counselors, are essential contractors.
- California Department of Veterans Affairs representatives are essential.
- Design and construction activities performed by consultants, general contractors, and the Inmate/Ward Labor (IWL) program are considered essential and will continue during this phase.
- Population workforce limited to essential functions.
- Yard/provision of meals is one housing unit at a time.
- Showers and phone calls are allowed with cleaning in between uses.
- Dayroom access within the same living quarters.
- Sports equipment may be issued if used only by the population who live within the same unit; equipment is to be cleaned after use.
- Recreational activities (card games, board games, etc.) may be issued to those who live within the same unit, with disinfection of the items between uses.
- Students are eligible to receive independent study packets.
- Students shall be administered educational assessments, with social distancing.
- Allow Mental Health referrals and routine appointments, which may be done cell front.
- Mental Health and Nursing may provide in-cell activities and packet programming.
- Law library: Paging only. Recreational reading books made available in housing units; access to assistive devices provided in libraries or housing units, as resources are available.
- The following programs are closed: Offender Mentor Certification Program, in-person college, and Innovative Grants Program/Arts in Corrections/Volunteer programs.
- Congregate/Group religious activities are not permitted.
- Medication distribution shall be determined jointly by the CEO and Warden.
- Health Care may be limited to emergent and urgent/high priority care.