Prison, Jail take measures to keep officers, inmates healthy

Published 4:21 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2020

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The Decatur County Prison and Jail are taking extra measures to keep their officers and inmates healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin said the jail is allowing minimal visitations of inmates at the moment. Visitations must be scheduled ahead of time.

We have to fight diseases every day, almost like a hospital,” said Griffin. “There are all sorts of diseases we continually fight. We are cleaning it more now because of this situation for protection of our officers and inmates.”

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Inmates are also being allowed two free emails per week, and the jail is working with its phone company to schedule free phone calls as well.The Decatur County Prison falls under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Department of Corrections, and is responding with all available resources to help prevent the potential introduction and spread of Coronavirus into its facility.  Specific protocols have been put in place to proactively address the health and welfare of those in custody at the Decatur County Prison, to include the following:

• Suspended visitation through April 10, 2020

• Suspended volunteer visits to facilities, out of an abundance of caution

• Partnered with Securus Technologies and JPay to provide each offender with the following, until further notice:

o one (1) free fifteen-minute phone call each week beginning March 14, 2020

o two (2) free e-stamps each week beginning March 17, 2020

• Waived $5.00 medical co-pay for offenders exhibiting COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms, effective March 13, 2020, until further notice

• Quantities of hand soap and hand sanitizer have been increased at all facilities

• Enhanced sanitation and cleaning protocols at all facilities, and for all transportation vehicles, to include designating additional Sanitation Officers

• Enhanced medical screening protocols for staff, contractors, vendors, or any individual entering our facilities

• Enhanced screening process for offenders

• Enhanced diagnostic intake screening for offenders entering GDC custody

  • Symptomatic offenders with exposure risk factors will be isolated and tested for COVID-19 per health authority protocols

• Temporarily suspending attorney visits, although individual cases will be reviewed

• Suspended non-essential offender movement across GDC facilities, effective March 3, 2020, until further notice

• Ongoing notification and education of staff and inmate population

• Suspended all facility tours through April 10, 2020