MCF-Faribault COVID-19 Response
(Updated April 29, 2020)
Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell has directed each of the state’s prisons to implement “Stay with Unit” plans to provide living unit separation, and to minimize the potential for COVID-19 spread. “Stay with Unit” ensures incarcerated individuals participate in facility activities, including any programming, yard time, and dining, only with others in their living unit. By providing living unit separation, better social distancing becomes possible and we minimize the potential for widespread outbreaks across entire facilities.
The following additional measures have been taken to protect those within the Faribault facility. This list is not necessarily exhaustive of all measures in place.
Masks: Cloth barrier masks are being created and distributed to staff and incarcerated people at all DOC facilities. Each person has been given instructions for how to care for the mask, how to put it on, and how to take it off safely. All staff at MCF-Faribault are required to wear their mask when at the facility.
MCF-Faribault Health Services staff have N95 masks, and there are a limited number of N95s for corrections officers to use when escorting symptomatic inmates to isolation, or when packing up the property of a symptomatic inmate. The DOC follows Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for when and how personal protective equipment is used.
Co-Pays: We have waived all medical co-pays for the duration of the Governor’s declared emergency to ensure no one is discouraged from seeking care.
Protecting Staff and their Families: MCF-Faribault has implemented a number of measures to protect staff and their families. Similar to staff at health care facilities, staff have been provided guidance for steps to take to protect their families while they continue to come to work every day. Information has been distributed and is on posters at the facility for washing hands when they leave work, designating a door of their home just for them to enter and exit, changing clothes and showering when they get home, and avoiding sharing food, among other steps.
Hand washing stations: MCF-Faribault has installed new hand washing stations in the facility. Two handwashing sinks were installed in the lobby to the facility and other hand washing stations were installed. All individuals are required to wash their hands when entering and exiting the facility. Two additional handwashing stations for inmates were placed in the facility’s main hallways, along with 57 additional hand sanitizer receptacles installed throughout the facility. Inmate restrooms and kitchenettes also have sinks to wash hands. All individuals (staff and inmates) are encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day.
Screening: All staff are have their temperature taken and are screened on a daily basis for recent symptoms. If they have been symptomatic, a physician’s approval is required to return to work. All staff are provided with protective masks and are required to wear them.
Isolation Plans: MCF-Faribault has an isolation plan in the event an inmate contracts COVID-19. Details include moving all effected offenders to one living unit, K4D. Inmates in Linden, Maple and Dakota will have in-unit isolation and quarantine if the numbers get outside of the allowed amount of facility open beds. The facility also has a plan developed to follow the CDC protocol for “step down,” to provide an additional period of separation for an inmate after recovering from COVID-19 but before returning to general population.
Phones: Inmates now receive two free five-minute phone calls per week in addition to the standard calls they could already purchase. The phones are cleaned with germicide after every use. Unit janitors also clean the phones multiple times throughout the day.
Video Visiting: Loved ones on the outside now receive one free 15-minute video call per week. The kiosks are cleaned with germicide after every use.
Showers and Bathrooms: Inmates at MCF-Faribault still have access to showers and bathroom facilities, and most have toilets in their cells.
Recreation, Yard, and Courtyard Time: At Faribault, opportunities for outdoor recreation have been increased. Staff reinforce social distancing and disinfecting. Social distancing is further enforced by units recreating separately from other units.
Food Services: Faribault serves two hot meals each day, along with a bagged lunch. The hot meals are larger, similar to holiday meals, using a brunch and dinner service. Social distancing is maintained by slowing the number of inmates moving to and eating in the dining hall. Inmate movement is limited to one wing at a time.
Work: At Faribault, inmates are continuing to work in the following occupations: janitors, education, chemical dependency, food service, MINNCOR, and laundry, while practicing safe social distancing.
Medication: Faribault has modified its Pill Window for two meal periods, which means inmates are allowed to go the pill window at meal times. Evaluations have taken place to determine if certain medication may be kept with the inmate during this time.
Mail and Emails: Inmates can still send and receive mail and emails as they normally would.
Canteen: Items purchased from the inmate store are still being delivered to the living units.
Education: Distance learning plans have been developed and are issued to inmates routinely. Inmates are able to meet with their teacher individually or in small groups to allow for social distancing. Inmates can also sign up to have a tutor assist them with their assignments.
Treatment: Faribault is shrinking the size of treatment groups to allow for distancing which includes in unit small groups. We are also working on establishing communication opportunities from treatment and mental health staff to inmates using phones and tablets.
Television: Inmates still have access to televisions—both in their room and in the common areas, with the appropriate social distancing. The inmate network channel is utilized for updates and the inmate movie channel has increased its movie selection. One TV on the flag is permanently set to the inmate network for information.