Detention Center FAQs
See below for frequently asked questions regarding resources for detainees and the impact of Covid-19 on our facilities.
Protocols to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure have been in place since March 1. The protocols have been continuously revised based upon recommendations of the Health Department and CDC. Some of the protocols in place include medical assessments and temperature checks of all inmates and detainees performed daily, temperature checks and assessment questions of every person entering into the Detention Center, requiring all staff to wear full PPE (gowns, face shields, masks, gloves), issuing masks to all inmates, providing hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer to inmates and staff, allowing only remote visits, suspending in-person programs and making certain programs available remotely, placing all persons brought into the facility in quarantine for at least 14 days before moving them to housing units.
The facility is sanitized daily and is disinfected by Citron Hygiene weekly.
Because the Detention Center is currently under 50% capacity, all detainees have been placed in single cells, except those required to be double-celled due to increased suicide risk. The Detention Center opened an empty unit to assist with spacing. Inmates in dorms are spread out to keep them six feet apart.
On March 15, 2020, Howard County reported its first conformed case of COVID-19. Between March 15 and June 24, three inmates had been tested because they had fevers detected during the daily medical assessments. All three tested negative for COVID-19. Starting on June 24, all inmates in the facility, including ICE detainees, and all staff were tested. One inmate has tested positive for COVID-19. The inmate has had no symptoms and is being re-tested on Monday June 29. He is now housed in an isolation unit and inmates in the housing unit where he was housed are being quarantined. One inmate from that housing unit was transferred to a different housing unit, and that second unit is also being quarantined. No ICE detainees have tested positive for COVID-19.
Two contractual nurses and one correctional officer tested positive of COVID-19 in March. They were placed on isolation status for 16 days and have since been medically cleared to return to work. Video review showed the staff had on required PPE at all times while on duty and the Health Department recommended no further action. One employee tested on June 24 has also tested positive and is being quarantined at home. Video surveillance show that the employee wore required PPE at all times while in the facility.
All new intakes are placed on receiving/quarantine for at least 14 days. Everyone on this status is checked by medical staff daily. This check includes a temperature reading and a symptom check. Individuals are not moved into housing units until after they quarantine period
Capital Areas Immigrant Rights Coalition (CAIR) provides detainees legal information and services. Howard County also conducts a weekly new intake orientation and reviews the CAIR services with the detainees. This information is also accessible in the detainee handbook and posted in their housing area and on the unit computer kiosk (internal email system available to inmates). Many have private attorneys as well.
Currently, because of the COVID-19 outbreak, no in-person visits are allowed, except by attorneys. Detainees are permitted two 30-minute video visits per week. Requests can be made and are granted for additional visits when special circumstances arise. These include family emergencies, deaths in the family, etc. County inmates and detainees receive the same visitation.
Yes, detainees can request medical attention through the inmate kiosk or directly to Detention Center staff, and are seen no later than 24 hours after submitting their sick call requests. Detainees with ongoing or chronic medical conditions are seen for follow-up visits. In addition, all detainees are given a complete physical examination by a physician after their entry into the facility. Currently, all inmates in the facility, including new entries in quarantine and ICE detainees, are screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms by medical staff.
There is no difference in the medical treatment and attention given based upon immigration status. Like other inmates, detainees are given a complete physical upon entry into the facility and can request sick visits through the kiosk or directly to staff. Those with medical problems are also scheduled to be seen for follow-up visits.
Yes. There are two full time mental health professionals (each works 40 hours per week) and a psychiatrist available for 16 hours per week.
One hour per day, seven days per week. County inmates receive one hour per day, but only five days per week.
The detainees receive 5 hours per week in the library and can check out up to four books at time. They also have access to computers on the unit that have Lexus Nexus legal reference material. The detainees are occasionally placed in school. County inmates receive 2 hours per week.
All detainees receive due process according to federal immigration laws. They have hearings and are allowed legal representation.