Jackson County Jail Plan For Dealing With COVID-19
The team at the Jackson County Jail has been receiving numerous questions from members of the community in regards to what we are doing to keep the jail population and employees safe during this unprecedented time of dealing with Covid-19. While each day brings new information, we wanted to share some of the things currently being done to help protect everyone inside and outside of our facility.
Jail Administration began planning for Covid-19 in early March when it became evident that this virus was spreading rapidly through the rest of the world. We began immediately implementing enhanced screening questions of all those lodged at our facility and we increased cleaning and sanitization practices throughout the facility. We also identified specific housing units in the jail that could be used as quarantine spaces if anyone began showing symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.
As the first cases began showing up in Oregon, our jail began implementing efforts to create as much as possible social distancing within our space. We closed to non-essential functions and visitors, looking to increase the protection of our population. This created some of the first hardships for our adults in custody and their loved ones as we had to stop all personal weekend visitation. Because we recognize the importance of contact with the community, we immediately reached out to our communication system vendor who graciously donated free weekly phone and video visitation options for our entire population.
Additional steps were taken to ensure that those adults who have been in our custody the longest are not begin exposed to new lodgings. Specific housing units were identified that contain only adults who have been in custody for quite some time, and these units were “closed” to any new lodgings being added. In order to keep an eye on the new lodgings, specific units have been identified where intakes will be held as long as possible to ensure they do not begin exhibiting symptoms.
Jail employees (including security and medical staff) have been closely monitoring the population to identify anyone who may appear sick. Anyone who appears to be feeling ill is quickly seen by our nurses and is evaluated. Symptomatic adults would be separated from the general population for further observation. To date, the Jackson County Jail has not had a single incident of confirmed Covid-19 in either staff or adults-in-custody.
We have had individuals who were ill and were treated as potentially having the coronavirus, but each of these cases has proven to be something else. Most have already had their symptoms clear and are back in the general housing areas.
The Jackson County Jail continues to serve our community to the best of our ability. We have not restricted our business to any particular types of lodgings and individuals who are engaging in illegal activity are provided a safe and secure environment from which to access the courts. The Sheriff’s Office and our partners at Health and Human Services have been communicating frequently during this time and will continue to do so to ensure we are operating our facility consistent with best practices to keep our community safe.
Thank you for your ongoing support,
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office