As of 10/2020

General updates

  • On March 14th, the first US correctional staff member tested positive for COVID-19, and on March 16th, the first COVID-19 diagnosis of an incarcerated person occurred 
  • Some jurisdictions are working to release people from jails and prisons in hopes of minimizing the spread of COVID-19. For updated local law enforcement policy changes, visit the Prison Policy Initiative.
  • The District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DOC) is providing each resident with a daily free, unmonitored, and unrecorded 30-minute phone call with their lawyer. See details here. This is available for both DOC’s Central Detention Facility and Correctional Treatment Facility.
    • Attorneys must submit their contact information to DOC case management.

For friends and family of incarcerated persons

  • Per NAMI COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide
    • “Incarcerated people have Constitutional protections under the Eighth Amendment, including the right to medical care/attention as needed to treat both short-term conditions and long-term illnesses. The medical care provided must be “adequate.” Communication with jail/prison administration is key and should start early by those who are incarcerated and/or their families. If an incarcerated loved one is not receiving quality care, families and caregivers can help: 
      • Contact the medical staff at the facility if you can
      • If a family member is allowed to bring medication to the jail (dependent on jail policy), bring the individual’s current medications and all relevant records to the facility. Be sure the medication is in the original packaging with dispensing instructions
      • If your loved one is being denied treatment:  
        • File a formal complaint directly with the facility in question.  
        • Contact the state’s Department of Corrections office if the issue remains unresolved.  
        • Contact your state’s Governor
        • Contact your state’s affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
        • Find Legal Help –  search function where you can locate the legal referral service for your area.”
  • For up-to-date visitation policies on a state-by-state basis, visit The Marshall Project
    • Some facilities are allowing for longer phone or video calls in replacement of in-person visits.
    • The Marshall Project recommends making sure your loved one has enough money to be able to contact you.
  • Support for families and friends of incarcerated persons

For medical providers, public health professionals, and other administrators


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