News Staff Report
Alabama Department of Corrections officials announced this week that, effective immediately, the department is placing a 30-day moratorium on new intakes from county jails.
The restriction includes, but is not limited to, new commitments, court returns, and parolees and probationers who are revoked or sanctioned to a dunk (a sentence of usually three days in jail, ordered by a probation or parole officer for a technical violation).
During the moratorium, the department will continue to receive inmates with severe medical or mental health conditions, subject to the usual review process by the ADOC’s Office of Health Services. However, additional health screenings will be implemented at the facility level to ensure any inmate is not symptomatic prior to entry.
While the 30-day moratorium is in effect, ADOC’s intake procedures will be reviewed closely, and intake dorm space will be assessed thoroughly. At the end of the 30-day period, the department will assess its interim intake process.
In addition to implementing system-wide preventative measures to prevent the virus from entering the facilities, ADOC officials and staff are also modifying internal protocols to best serve the inmate population who have been impacted by these altered processes and various safety precautions.
Also effective immediately, prison officials will extend both inmate yard time and snack line services at all facilities. Other protocol adjustments remain under consideration for possible implementation later.
“We are continuing to diligently monitor the situation, working closely with the ADPH and adhering to CDC-recommended health and hygiene guidelines,” an ADOC spokesman said. “As noted on March 19, the ADOC has been notified that an administrative employee tested positive for COVID-19. All individuals within the Department who have been in direct contact with the individual who tested positive remain in a 14-day self-quarantine period and are being monitored by the Alabama Department of Public Health for signs and symptoms due to direct exposure.
“Maintaining the safety, security, and well-being of our overall system remains the ADOC’s highest priority.”