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Implementation of new technological innovations in the Missouri Department of Corrections aims to cut COVID-19 infection rates in Missouri state prisons and other facilities. These strategies:
- Kill the virus in the air
- Kill the virus on surfaces
The department now has ionization generators — air purifying devices that, when installed in air handling systems, destroy 99.4% of COVID-19 within 30 minutes. Using needlepoint ionization, the devices also kill other viruses, bacteria, mold, allergens and pollutants, reducing health risks for people living and working in prisons. More than 1,468 units are in use at all prisons, community supervision centers, the Transition Center of St. Louis, and other state-owned facilities.
The department has procured 40 electrostatic disinfectant sprayers with vital oxide disinfectant. This cleaning system instantly covers surfaces with a fine disinfecting mist, killing COVID-19 and other pathogens on contact. Corrections offices and the common areas inside prisons and other facilities are treated with this system on a regular schedule, supplementing the aggressive cleaning regimen already in place.
Nationwide rollout of newly approved COVID-19 vaccines is underway. Each state in the U.S. has developed a three-phase vaccine distribution plan, with priority groups targeted for vaccination in each phase. According to a survey by the Prison Policy Initiative, Missouri is one of only 11 states in the U.S. to include corrections staff in Phase 1.
Corrections staff are eligible in Phase 1B - Tier 1 of the vaccine rollout, following health care workers and nursing home residents. Phase 1B - Tier 1 was activated Thursday, Jan. 14.
People in high-risk populations because of age (65 or older) or medical condition (listed here) are eligible for the COVID vaccine in Phase 1B - Tier 2. This includes eligible offenders in these high-risk populations. Phase 1B - Tier 2 was activated Monday, Jan. 18.
All residents of Missouri Department of Corrections facilities will be eligible for vaccination in Phase 3 of the vaccine rollout plan. Phase 3 will be activated April 9.
Visiting currently is suspended in all Missouri Department of Corrections facilities.
When limited visiting has resumed, all visitors must call the facility to schedule an appointment. Contact information is available on our website. Ask to speak to the staff member in charge of the visiting schedule. Spots are limited. Visiting will be increased to four days per week at most facilities, Thursday through Sunday. However, the visiting rooms will be open at only 30% capacity, with 2-hour slots, with 2 visitors per offender, so you must schedule your appointment in advance.
Please see the Visiting page for details »
Face Covers & Personal Protective Equipment
Use of face covers is required indoors in all facilities at all times when social distancing can't be guaranteed. All offenders and staff must wear face covers.
Proper use of N95 masks and other personal protective equipment is required in isolation units and during all interactions with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Missouri Vocational Enterprise sewing factories manufacture more than 3,000 fabric face covers per day 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.
The Department of Corrections employs multiple COVID-19 testing strategies:
- court return
- mass testing
- sample testing
- wastewater testing
In early March, the Department of Corrections began COVID-19 testing of offenders who exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 or may had contact with an infected person, following Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines. Offenders are quarantined pending test results. This testing continues at all facilities.
Testing of all offenders on intake, when first entering the prison system, and pre-release, before leaving the prison system, began June 1. This testing continues at all facilities.
Testing all offenders and staff in a housing unit or other contained area, known as boxed-in testing, is conducted any time an outbreak is suspected. This testing continues at all facilities.
Mass testing of all offenders and staff at all facilities — regardless of symptoms or the presence of known cases — took place May 26 through Aug. 13.
Sample testing, or surveillance testing of a random 10% of the population of each facility, began Aug. 10 and continues at facilities throughout the state.
Wastewater testing, which entails sampling and analyzing facility wastewater for the presence of the virus, helps us to anticipate and contain a potential outbreak. This testing continues at all facilities.
- Offenders who test positive for COVID-19 are isolated until they test negative.
- Facility staff who test positive are sent home on leave until they have recovered.
- All staff who have close contact with a positive are sent home for quarantine in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
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:
- Mass testing completed at all facilities
- Sample testing underway at all facilities
- Wastewater testing underway at all facilities
- Viral containment plan at each prison, restricting offender movement and group sizes
- Manufacture and distribution of fabric face coverings for all staff and offenders
- Suspended volunteer and reentry partner programs
- Suspended offender visits
- Suspended regular offender transfers among facilities, except in extenuating circumstances
- Offender testing on intake
- Offender testing pre-release
- 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
- Isolation cells, wings and units identified for use, if needed, at every prison
- Isolation of offenders showing signs of communicable diseases
- Shelter-in-place process for enhanced care units
- 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 more than 5,000 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
- Dec. 11: FREE Community COVID-19 Testing
- Nov. 12: COVID-19 Vaccination Survey
- Nov. 10: Limited Visiting to Resume at Kansas City Reentry Center Nov. 13
- Oct. 16: Visiting SUSPENDED at Southeast Correctional Center
- Oct. 10: Visiting SUSPENDED at Kansas City Reentry Center
- Oct. 6: Statewide Government Workforce COVID-19 Testing
- Sept. 15: Visiting Suspended at Moberly and St. Joseph Facilities
- Sept. 14: Visiting Suspended at Jefferson City Correctional Center
- Sept. 8: Limited Visiting to Start at Southeast Correctional Center Sept. 10
- Sept. 3: Visiting Canceled at Western Missouri Correctional Center Sept. 5-6
- Aug. 31: Limited Visiting to Start at Western Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center Sept. 10
- Aug. 24: Visiting Canceled at Maryville Treatment Center and Tipton Correctional Center
- Aug. 19: Limited Visiting to Restart at Kansas City Reentry Center Aug. 27
- Aug. 14: Limited Visiting to Restart at Moberly Correctional Center Aug. 20
- Aug. 12: Limited Visiting to Restart at Tipton Correctional Center Aug. 21
- Aug. 6: Limited Visiting to Restart at Western Missouri Correctional Center Aug. 20
- July 29: Limited Visiting to Restart at Jefferson City Correctional Center Aug. 6
- July 10: Limited Visiting to Restart at Maryville Treatment Center July 18
- July 1: Chillicothe Correctional Center Visiting CANCELED
- June 18: Limited Visiting to Restart in Chillicothe, Licking, Jefferson City (Algoa) June 25
- June 15: Visiting Suspension Extended; New Visit Schedule & Guidelines Coming Soon
- June 12: Update from Director Anne Precythe on COVID-19 Testing and Gradual Reopening
- June 2: June 2020 Staff Newsletter
- May 29: Message from Director Anne Precythe on Sentinel Testing
- 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