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MCF-Shakopee 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 Shakopee facility. This list is not necessarily exhaustive of all measures in place.

Masks: Cloth barrier masks have been 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. Inmates are required to wear masks when they are out of their cells. Staff must wear the masks when they are in the facility, unless they are alone in an office or station.

MCF-Shakopee 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-Shakopee has implemented a number of measures to protect staff and their families. Similar to staff at health care facilities, DOC 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-Shakopee has installed new hand washing stations in the facility. Three handwashing sinks were installed around the facility including: in the lobby to the facility, in the Intake area and at the Truck Gate. All individuals are required to wash their hands when entering and exiting the facility. We also added 12 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 have been provided with barrier masks. Use of the barrier masks is mandatory for all of our staff.

Isolation Plans: MCF-Shakopee has an isolation plan in place. The lower restrictive housing unit has been converted back into a housing unit and has been renamed Mead Unit to ensure separation from restrictive housing unit. Mead Unit will be utilized for women on isolation. They will be able to bring their personal property including a television and tablet. They will have access to showers, day room space, property, canteen, and medical services.

New Intake Quarantine: All women incarcerated in Minnesota come to MCF-Shakopee. All newly admitted women have their temperature taken, are screened for symptoms, and quarantined for 14 days upon arrival. On the twelfth day of quarantine, every person is tested for COVID-19 before being moved to general population.

Phones: MCF-Shakopee inmates now receive two free five-minute phone calls per week in addition to the standard calls they could already purchase. Schedules ensure equal access time for each individual living unit. Phones are cleaned on an hourly basis by Unit Maintenance workers.

Video Visiting: Loved ones on the outside now receive one free 15-minute video call per week. Additional calls can be purchased at a reduced rate. MCF-Shakopee video visiting schedules remain unchanged. Video kiosks are cleaned on an hourly basis by Unit Maintenance workers.

Showers and Bathrooms: Inmates have access to showers and bathroom facilities. MCF-Shakopee is ensuring schedules continue to allow for social distancing while taking into account inmate’s work schedules. Social distancing is achieved by posted information and officer instruction.

Recreation, Yard, and Courtyard time: Social distancing is achieved by smaller groups of inmates being allowed in the gym and monitored by recreation staff. MCF-Shakopee has options for gym and patio time available outside of work hours and courtyard time is available every day. Picnic tables have been added at units for outside time and a schedule has been developed for use of those areas.

Food Services: At MCF-Shakopee, the gym is being used in addition to the dining hall for each general population meal to allow for space for social distancing.

Work: MCF-Shakopee continues to employ inmates in textiles (sewing barrier masks), rubber industries (a small number of inmates), food services, laundry, and cleaners. They are practicing social distancing in their work assignments.

Medications MCF-Shakopee continues medication distribution at the medication window. Social distancing is accomplished by small group call outs and marked lines on the floor.

Mail and Emails: Inmates can still send and receive mail and emails as they normally would.

Canteen: Items purchased from the inmate store are being delivered to the living units.

Education: Group education is delivered in a distance-learning model, which consists of work being provided to be completed in their rooms and turned in at a designated location. Tutors available in the housing units to assist.

Treatment Group treatment is delivered in a distance learning model which consists of work being given to inmates to be completed in their rooms and turned in at a designated location

Television: Inmates still have access to televisions—both in their room and in the common areas, with the appropriate social distancing scheduled in. Housing units have dayroom space with a television available for viewing. Distancing is maintained by increasing the distance between tables and removing excess chairs.

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