California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation - Changes to Protocols Due to COVID 19

6Jan 2021
Jan 6, 2021

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – Changes to Protocols Due to COVID 19

The State of California implemented regional stay at home orders on December 6, 2020 in response to some regions of California having less than 15% capacity in their ICU units (California, 2020). As of that date, the greater Sacramento area, San Joaquin Valley, and southern California were included in the stay at home order. The Bay Area is expected to reach the threshold in the near future. The statewide positivity rate is 9.0% and increasing quickly (California Dashboard, 2020).

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) suspended in person visitation. They have two systems for visitation where the VPASS system is for in-person visitation only, which is currently suspended, and Webex, which is currently being made available to inmates (CDCR Visitation, 2020). It appears the Webex system is the preferred method as it can be provided free of charge, noting limitations of one 30-minute video visitation per month for free. Additional video visits are charged.

County Jails

The following counties were selected based on population and/or position in the state.

Los Angeles County, located in southern California, is the most populous county in the state. It has a positivity rate of 8.2% and is increasing exponentially (California Dashboard, 2020). The County suspended in-person visitation for friends and family but allows professional visits such as attorneys to be in-person (LACSD, 2020). They have increased screen and isolate inmates that are known or suspected to have COVID-19.

San Diego County is one of two southern counties bordering Mexico. The County has seven jails and detention facilities with the San Diego Central facility being the main jail (SDCSD, 2020). As of November 21, 2020, in-person visitation was suspended at all facilities due to increasing numbers of inmates infected with COVID-19 but they have expanded free email services for communication with inmates. Some facilities provide video visitation.

Contra Costa County is located in the East Bay area in central California. The Sheriff’s Office manages three jail facilities (CCCOS, 2020). The County is indicating that they allow in person visitation by appointment.

Shasta County is located in northern California. The county seat is Redding, California, which is also the location of the jail (SCSO, 2020). The County has designated some restrictions to Sheriff’s lobby hours but in person visitation appears to be available.

Policies
Type of FacilityFamily VisitationAttorney VisitationCommissary/Money for ExpensesOther Programs
General InformationHours and Parking for VisitationInmate Property Release
State-Run Correction Facility
  • All in-person contact visitation was suspended
  • Video visitation is being expanded in December 2020 to most facilities. Permitted for approved visitors only and by reservation.
  • Free 30-minute video visit every 30 days on weekends and holidays by reservation.
  • Inmates can make pre-paid phone calls.
  • Inmates under quarantine and isolation are not permitted to have video visitation
  • All facilities have visitation on Saturday, Sunday, and four major holidays (New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day).
  • Hours of visitation vary but are generally start between 7:30am and 8am and end between 2pm and 3pm.
  • Visitation is usually between 2 to 3 hours long
  • Currently all visitation requires and appointment but even under regular conditions most facilities require appointments for in-person visitation.
  • No specific information provided
  • No specific information provided
  • Funds are sent directly to the facility housing the inmate or through electronic services such as GTL/ConnectNetwork, JPAY, and Access Corrections.
  • Funds sent for discretionary spending are subject to restitution and administrative charges.
  • Packages can only be sent through approved vendors on a quarterly basis
  • All programs are suspended.
Los Angeles County
  • All in person visitation suspended March 21, 2020
  • Telephone visitation available through pre-paid services.
  • General population inmates receive four 15-minute visits per week totally one hour.
  • Special handle inmates receive two 30 minute visits per week.
  • Inmates must provide permission for release of personal property.
Attorney and other professional visitation is permitted in person.
  • Commissary and pre-paid telephone services are through venders
  • Offer high school, vocational courses, and life skills courses
San Diego County
  • All in-person visitation suspended November 21, 2020
  • County expanded free email services for inmates
  • Phone visitation is by reservation
  • Phone visitation is from 10am to 2pm Wednesday through Monday
  • When in-person resumes, visitation for most housing units is Thursday through Monday
  • Length of visit depends on the housing unit and ranges from 30 to 60 minutes. Some units are restricted from visitation.
  • Video visitation is available at Facility 8 Detention Facility, George Baily Detention Facility, Las Colinas Detention & Reentry Facility, San Diego Central Jail, and Vista Detention Facility daily.
  • Limited parking is available at San Diego Central Jail.
  • All personal property will be secured during the arrest. Funds are placed in their jail account.
  • Any unused funds in inmate accounts will be provided to the inmate upon release.
  • Attorneys can request reserved time with inmates for consultation.
  • Inmates can make collect calls to attorneys as needed.
  • Foreign citizens can have professional visits from their consulates.
  • Inmates with less than $2 in their inmate accounts receive basic hygiene items and two stamped envelopes weekly
  • Inmates with more than $2 may purchase additional items from the commissary weekly.
  • Additional funds can be added through kiosks or online. Maximum balance allowed is $500.
  • Funds can be used for pre-paid phone services.
Provides a number of programs, which may be fully or partially suspended at this time due to limitations on visitors and volunteers to the facilities. Include work release, parole, education and vocational, wellness, religious, and other programs.
Contra Costa County
  • Each of the three detention facilities determines the maximum number of visitors at any one time
  • All visits are non-contact
  • Visitors must be pre-approved
  • Martinez Detention has visiting hours daily with reduced hours on Thursday and Friday. The limit is 4 people per visit
  • No specific information provided
  • No specific information provided
  • Electronic payment through mycarepack.com
  • Other forms of payment accepted include money order’s, cashier’s checks, traveler’s checks, and government issued checks
  • Delivery dates were not provided but there is a notification of potential delays due to COVID-19
  • No specific information
Shasta County
  • The Sheriff’s Office lobby is closed to some services.
  • In person visitation is listed as available with a rotating schedule daily based on housing unit
  • Up to 2 visitors per inmate allowed 30 minutes up to two times per week.
  • Inmate workers can have up to 1 hour per visit.
  • No specific information provided
  • No specific information provided
  • Inmates may purchase up to $100 of commissary items per week.
  • Deposits can be made online, via phone, or via kiosk.
  • Work release program

Infection Rates and Death Rates

All indices for COVID infection rates in the State of California are rising including total cases and total deaths (California Dashboard, 2020). The current statewide 14-day average positivity rate is 10.4%, which is a 4.2% increase from the previous 14 days. Hospitalizations also continue to increase exponentially. While ICU bed availability is currently increasing, this trend is not expected to continue as the exponential increase in number of cases and increasing hospitalization increase. 99.9% of the state’s population live in counties with widespread risk levels, the highest risk level rating.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and criminal justice partners have worked to reduce the jail population since March 11, 2020 (CDCR Covid, 2020). California jails have very high positivity rates that are well above national and statewide average.

County Jails

Los Angeles County is the most populous county in California with over 10 million residents with a high density of residents (CA Demographics, 2019). It is located in southern California and includes major cities such as the City of Los Angeles as well as industry, Port of Long Beach, major colleges, National Forests, Los Angeles International Airport, among others. The 7-day average positivity rate in the County for December 8, 2020 is 8.7% (California Dashboard, 2020). The County jails suspended all public in-person visitation on March 21, 2020 but allow for in-person professional visits including with attorneys (LACSD, 2020).

San Diego County is the second most populous county in California with over 3 million residents (CA Demographics, 2019). It is the southern county adjacent to Mexico and includes a major port of entry with Tijuana as well as home to a major Navy installation. The 7-day average positivity rate on December 8, 2020 is 1.5% and the county has widespread risk level, which means many non-essential indoor businesses are closed (California Dashboard, 2020). While this is a low positivity rate, the surrounding counties in this region have rates to 10% to in excess of 20%. The jail has implemented a 7-day quarantine period for new inmates (SD Sheriff, 2020). In addition, as of November 20, 2020 the County jails have resumed the most restrictive precautions against transmission against COVID-19 infections including resuspension of in-person visitation on November 21, 2020.

Contra Costa County is located in the East Bay area near San Francisco in central California. It is the ninth largest county for population with just over 1 million residents (CA Demographics, 2019). The Bay Area Region is not under a stay at home order but is fast approaching the number of ICU beds available that will trigger a stay at home order (California, 2020). The 7-day average positivity rate in the County for December 8, 2020 is 5.2% (California Dashboard, 2020).

Shasta County is located in northern California and in the region currently is not under a stay at home order (California, 2020). The county is fairly rural and known for outdoor activities in the surround national forests. The 7-day average positivity rate in the County on December 8, 2020 is 9.7% and the county has widespread risk level, which means many non-essential indoor businesses are closed (California Dashboard, 2020). In addition to COVID-19, the County is also managing significant wildlands fires. The Sheriff’s Office does not provide jail statistics for COVID-19. Sheriff Eric Magrini does not support early release of inmates from jails to reduce inmate populations due to several instances of inmates being released and committing crimes shortly thereafter (Kreider, 2020).

Type of FacilityInfectionDeath
NumberPositivity RateNumberDeath Rate of Positive Cases
State JailsInmate29,98226.2%970.3%
Employee8,199Not determined100.1%
Los Angeles CountyInmate43111.1%92.0%
Employee1,5402Not determinedNone reportedNot determined
San Diego CountyInmate39934%None reportedNot determined
Employee2354Not determined10.4%
Contra Costa CountyInmateNot providedNot determinedNot providedNot determined
EmployeeNot providedNot determinedNone reportedNot determined
Shasta CountyInmateNot providedNot determinedNot providedNot determined
EmployeeNot providedNot determinedNone reportedNot determined

References

CA Demographics. (2019, December 19). California Counties by Population. Retrieved December 12, 2020 from California Demographics: https://www.california-demographics.com/counties_by_population
California. (2020, December 9). About COVID-19 Restrictions December 6 Press Release. Retrieved December 10, 2020 from covid19.ca.gov: https://covid19.ca.gov/stay-home-except-for-essential-needs/#regional-stay-home-order
California Dashboard. (2020, December 20). Dashboard. Retrieved December 20, 2020 from covid19.ca.gov: https://covid19.ca.gov/state-dashboard/
CCCOS. (2020). Inmate Information. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff: https://www.cocosheriff.org/how-do-i/inmate-information
CDCR Covid. (2020, December 12). COVID-19 Information. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/covid19/
CDCR Visitation. (2020, December). Visitation. Retrieved December 10, 2020 from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: https://visitorreservations.cdcr.ca.gov/
Kreider, C. (2020, October 7). “How is this acceptable?” Sheriff says tragic crimes lies in the hands of the state. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from KRCR ABC7 News: https://krcrtv.com/news/local/how-is-this-acceptable-sheriff-says-tragic-crime-lies-in-the-hands-of-the-state
LACSD. (2020). Inmate Information Center. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: https://app5.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm
LASD Dashboard. (2020, December 14). Coronavirus Information Updates. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department: https://lasd.org/covid19updates/#personnel_definitions
SCSO. (2020). Shasta County Jail. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from Shasta County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.co.shasta.ca.us/index/sheriff/custody
SD Sheriff. (2020, November 20). General Information. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from San Diego County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.sdsheriff.net/index.html
SDCSD. (2020). Detention Services Bureau. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from San Diego County Sheriff’s Department: https://www.sdsheriff.net/about_dsb.html
SDSD Employees. (2020, December 11). COVID-19 Employee Status Report. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from San Diego Sheriff’s Department: https://www.sdsheriff.net/newsroom/links/dsb-covid19-2.pdf
SDSD Inmates. (2020, December 11). COVID-19 Jail Status Report. Retrieved December 14, 2020 from San Diego County Sheriff’s Department: https://www.sdsheriff.net/newsroom/links/dsb-covid19.pdf

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