Minnesota Department of Corrections suspends in-person visits at prisons

In the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Minnesota Department of Corrections is implementing measures, including suspending in-person visits at all of its correctional facilities.

So far COVID-19 has not been detected at any of the Minnesota correction facilities, according to DOC Commissioner Paul Schnell. A DOC pandemic response team is working with the Minnesota Department of Health to prevent the spread of the virus into the correctional facilities and also put steps in place for any possible cases.

The DOC will be putting the following 12 policies into place:

  1. Waive medical copays: All medical copays are waived until further notice.
  2. Suspension of in-person visiting: Attorney visits, however, will continue. Though phone calls and video conferences or non-contact visits will be encouraged.
  3. Planning to implement no-cost video visiting: The DOC is working with its vendors to provide free video visiting, so that inmates can maintain contact with loved ones.
  4. Postpone March/April Education Graduations
  5. Enhance handwashing and hand sanitizing procedures: There will be more hand sanitizing stations for everyone's use.
  6. Provide and make available additional bars of soap: Inmates will receive additional bars of soap from the DOC>
  7. Begin symptom screening for staff, contractors, vendors, and incarcerated persons
  8. Increase signage at entry points for all DOC locations
  9. Tele-work: This would impact administrative staff that does not provide direct services.
  10. ILI (influenza-like illness) guidelines
  11. Cancel all out of state travel and in-state attendance at conferences and training: This excludes interstate inmate transfers.
  12. Monitoring food, medical, and cleaning items daily to ensure adequate supplies and forecast needs