Health officials are working hard to contain the spread of the COVID-19 (commonly known as “coronavirus”) in the United States. Please visit the Department of Health and Senior Services COVID-19 page for information on COVID-19 in Missouri as well as tips on staying healthy.
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COVID-19: Department of Corrections Preparation
The Missouri Department of Corrections has implemented procedures to protect staff and offenders during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Face Covers & Personal Protective Equipment
Missouri Vocational Enterprise sewing factories have manufactured more than 200,000 fabric face covers following a prototype developed in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. These face covers, designed to help reduce the spread of communicable diseases, have been distributed to inmates, corrections staff and other state staff throughout Missouri. Every person living or working in a Missouri state prison has been issued at least two of these fabric face covers, which can be cleaned in accordance with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines. They are intended to be used in conjunction with other best practices, such as physical distancing and frequent hand washing.
The Department of Corrections has a supply of N95 masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE). The department requires PPE to be worn by any staff entering an isolation unit or interacting with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, who is awaiting COVID-19 test results, or who has COVID-19 symptoms.
At this time, no changes have been made to the offender release process. All offenders scheduled for release will be released on time. No additional releases or mass releases are planned in response to COVID-19.
Forty-three offenders in one housing wing at Southeast Correctional Center have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation. No offenders currently housed at any other prison have tested positive for the virus. One offender at Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center entered Department of Corrections custody while positive for COVID-19. One offender tested positive, and then negative, while already hospitalized with other medical conditions. He died in the hospital April 2, 2020.
Twenty-one staff members employed in prison settings have tested positive for COVID-19. Staff with whom these staff have had close contact have been quarantined. Details are available on our data page »
Here are some of the steps we’ve taken to keep COVID-19 out of our facilities and prepare to contain it if an outbreak occurs:
- Viral containment plan at each prison, restricting offender movement and group sizes
- Shelter-in-place process for enhanced care units
- Manufacture and distribution of fabric face coverings for all staff and offenders
- Suspended volunteer and reentry partner programs
- Suspended offender visits March 12
- Suspended regular offender transfers among facilities, except in extenuating circumstances
- Enhanced offender screening on intake
- Screening of all staff and others entering any facility or other corrections property, with temperature checks
- Strict sanitation schedules and guidelines implemented at every prison
- Ample cleaning supplies at every prison
- Designated point person at each facility to ensure adherence to the sanitizing schedule and availability of soap and sanitizer
- Around-the-clock on-site medical care at every prison
- Training in COVID-19 preparation and response for all staff
- COVID-19-enhanced pandemic protocols implemented at every prison
- Testing available at every prison
- Isolation cells, wings and units identified for use, if needed, at every prison
- Isolation of offenders showing signs of communicable diseases
- Flyers posted at worksites with tips on preventing the spread of communicable diseases
- Missouri Vocational Enterprises (MVE) hospital laundry process approved by the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council. All offenders wear protective gear and have been educated and personally instructed on handling hospital laundry safely and employing techniques to mitigate risk.
Communication with Families
- Effective March 23, Securus is providing each offender with up to two free 10-minute phone calls each week to help offenders stay in contact with family and friends while offender visits are suspended. The call credits are assigned weekly. The receiving party is not charged.
- Effective April 7, JPay, the company providing tablet-based monitored email services to offenders, is giving each offender with one free email each week, in addition to the four free monthly emails already provided, for a total of eight free email messages per month.
Probation & Parole
In the Division of Probation & Parole five staff members in different parts of the state have tested positive for COVID-19. All people with whom they were in contact were notified, and all offices were cleaned.
- Suspension of interstate compact transfers to and from Missouri
- Missouri Parole Board hearings conducted through video conference
- Continuing closure of Missouri state government buildings to the public, with many state staff members working from remote locations
- Continuing supervision of all probation and parole clients, with options for community visits, phone contact, video visits and electronic monitoring
- Screening of every person attempting to enter a Probation and Parole office
- Enhanced screening on intake at community supervision centers (CSCs), residential facilities and the Transition Center of St. Louis (TCSTL).
- Pandemic plan in place for all Probation and Parole offices and community corrections facilities
- Flyers posted at worksites with tips on preventing the spread of communicable diseases
Helping the Community
Three Missouri Vocational Enterprises (MVE) factories have modified their operations to provide much-needed products and services to government agencies and nonprofit organizations during the public health crisis:
- The chemical plant at Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center in Bonne Terre began production of hand sanitizer, yielding 6,800 gallons in the first week. By May 1, the factory had produced more than 6,000 one-gallon jugs and nearly 18,000 4-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer.
- The toilet paper factory in Cameron ramped up production, with an additional 600-800 cases each week; it now produces 3,500 cases (336,000 rolls) every week.
- The clothing factory at Jefferson City Correctional Center has made 4,000 protective gowns requested by the Missouri Veterans Commission.
- Missouri Vocational Enterprises clothing factories at Chillicothe Correctional Center, Farmington Correctional Center, Jefferson City Correctional Center and Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center (in Vandalia) are producing protective face coverings for use by corrections staff and offenders.These face coverings can be cleaned in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and are intended to be used in conjunction with physical distancing, frequent hand washing and other best practices.
Missouri Department of Corrections Messages
- May 22: Widespread COVID-19 Testing Planned for All State Prisons
- May 13: Visiting Suspension Extended Through June 18
- April 29: Message to Staff: Returning to Work
- April 23: Southeast Correctional Center Offenders Test Positive for COVID-19
- April 21: Southeast Correctional Center Inmate Tests Positive for COVID-19
- April 20: COVID-19 Data Daily Update for Family & Friends
- April 17: Message to Staff: Preparation, Recovery & the Road Forward
- April 11: Message to Staff Regarding COVID-19-Positive Facility Staff Member
- April 8: Message to Staff Regarding COVID-19-Positive Missouri Vocational Enterprises Staff Member
- April 6: COVID-19 Updates: Visiting Suspension, Volunteer Restrictions, Staff Screenings, Face Coverings, Viral Containment Plans
- April 6: Visiting Suspension Extended
- April 3: Staff Face Coverings, Personal Masks & Hand Sanitizer
- April 3: Message to Staff Regarding COVID-19-Positive Staff Member
- April 3: State Offices Remain Closed; Current Staff Work Arrangements Continue
- April 3: Message to Staff Regarding COVID-19-Positive Probation & Parole Staff Member
- April 2: Message to Staff Regarding COVID-19-Positive Probation & Parole Staff Member
- March 31: Daily Press Briefing - Department of Corrections Works to Prevent Spread of COVID-19
- March 30: Message to Staff Regarding COVID-19-Positive Office Staff
- March 27: Message to Staff Regarding COVID-19-Positive Probation & Parole Staff Member
- March 23: Hospitalized Offender Tests Positive for COVID-19
- March 23: Message to Staff Regarding COVID-19-Positive Offender
- March 21: Securus Provides 2 Free Weekly Calls
- March 20: Director Precythe's Message to Staff
- March 19: Message to Offenders
- March 18: Screening Process Implemented
- March 13: COVID-19 Update for Staff
- March 12: Visiting Suspended at All Correctional Centers
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If you have urgent questions about COVID-19, you may call 877-435-8411. This line is open 24/7.
Official Public Health Resources