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MCF-Shakopee COVID-19 Response

(Reviewed March 9, 2022)

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: During certain times of the pandemic, such as an outbreak and/or highly contagious variant, we will at times place all facility staff in N95 masks. Staff are required to wear masks at all times inside the facility. All incarcerated people have been supplied surgical masks. Each person has been given an ample supply of masks and instructions on how to put it on, and how to take it off safely. Staff are required to wear masks in the facility and the incarcerated population are required to wear them when outside their cells. The DOC follows Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for when and how personal protective equipment is used.

Co-Pays: Medical co-pays have been reinstated for most situations: including routine medical, dental, eye and physical exams. Any individual reporting respiratory/cold/cough systems will NOT be charged a co-pay at this time. We had previously waived ALL medical co-pays for the duration of the Governor’s declared emergency.

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 restrooms in the lobby and hand sanitizer available to the public when entering or exiting the facility. Restrooms and kitchenettes used by incarcerated people have sinks to wash hands. All individuals (staff and incarcerated people) are encouraged to wash their hands frequently throughout the day.

Screening: On a daily basis, all staff have their temperature taken and are screened for recent symptoms. If they have been symptomatic, a physician’s approval is required to return to work. 

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 new intakes and release violators are quarantined for 10 days regardless of vaccination status and are tested on day 1 and day 8 of quarantine. All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, returning from a writ are quarantined for 10 days with testing completed on day 8. Anyone who tests positive is placed in medical isolation.  Individuals placed in isolation are permitted to bring some personal items, such as radios, tablets, etc.  When an individual tests positive, that individual’s roommate (if applicable) will restart their 10 days of quarantine due to the possible exposure to an infected person.

Challenge Incarceration Program Intake: The women approved to enter the Challenge Incarceration Program will be tested 48 hours prior to their approved intake date for COVID-19 before being moved to the CIP living unit.

Phones: Incarcerated people have access to make phone calls multiple times per week. Phones are cleaned with germicidal spray after each individual use.

In-person Visiting: at Shakopee is open. All visits must be scheduled in advance.

Video Visiting: MCF-Shakopee video visiting schedules remain unchanged. Video kiosks are cleaned after each use.

Showers and Bathrooms: Incarcerated individuals have access to showers and bathroom facilities. MCF-Shakopee is ensuring schedules continue to allow for social distancing while taking into account individual 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 people 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, on a rotating schedule by living unit. Picnic tables have been added at units for outside time and a schedule has been developed for use of those areas.

Food Services: MCF-Shakopee continues to serve three meals a day. An additional seating area has been utilized to allow for social distancing.   

Work: MCF-Shakopee continues to employ individuals with a reduced number of assignments to allow social distancing. All work assignment areas are practicing enhanced cleaning procedures.  

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: Incarcerated people can still send and receive mail and emails as they normally would.

Canteen: Canteen is delivered to wings/units on quarantine. All non-quarantine wings/units report to the canteen window during their designated time.  

Education: Education is delivered in a face-to-face learning, blended learning and a distance-learning model. Computer lab and GED/TABE testing have resumed. Library services have resumed. 

Treatment: Both Changing Paths and Compass substance use disorder programs are practicing in-person treatment programming with mandatory mask and social distancing protocols in place. 

Television: The women at Shakopee 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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