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Home » Reports & Publications » Publications » Response to COVID-19 (12/1/2021-3/23/2022)

From December 1, 2021, through March 23, 2022, the OCO received approximately 550 COVID-related complaints associated with the DOC facilities.  These complaints were in addition to the non-COVID complaints received by the office.  Many of these concerns involved individual issues that the OCO was able to investigate and address; however, the majority of these complaints submitted to the office related to issues where the DOC was following policy implemented by the department in response to COVID.  In these cases, the OCO had limited ability to take action or impact the situation due to a lack of authority.

 

Though our ability to mandate or require action of DOC is very limited, because of the nature of the pandemic and the concerns submitted to the office, the OCO believed it was important to be follow up on the issues identified, to visit the facilities, and to assist in resolving issues where possible.   We decided to utilize the information provided in the complaints to concentrate the resources of the office on the issues of most concern for the incarcerated individuals and their loved ones.  In order to identify the issues of concern to the greatest number of incarcerated individuals we created a tracker to collect all concerns sent to the OCO by mail, web, or through the hotline that related to COVID.  We organized these concerns by facility in which the concerns were occurring and by the type of concern reported. 

 

We used the information provided by the concerns to prioritize facility visits and to direct our work.  We had staff visiting all the facilities with concerns, but focused on those facilities with the most concerns submitted to the OCO.  Over the three months, OCO staff conducted 23 visits to DOC facilities.  During each visit, OCO staff met with many, many incarcerated individuals in several areas of the facilities.  They also spoke directly with DOC staff and followed up with leadership where necessary to address as many issues as possible.

 

The following are the COVID-related complaints received by the OCO from December 1, 2021 through March 23, 2022:

 

 

 Data by Concern

3/23/2022

 

 

Quarantine/isolation conditions of confinement

293

Staff not following PPE and social distancing guidelines

73

Other

72

Testing issues – including providing results/how results are shared/etc.

30

Food

23

Incarcerated individual not following PPE and social distancing guidelines

21

Vaccination

17

Visits – including video visits

11

Mishandling of personal property related to COVID

8

Delayed JPay messages

2

Total to Date

550

 

 Data By Facility 3/23/2022

Facility

Total

AHCC

85

CCCC

44

CBCC

39

CRCC

41

LCC

3

MCC-TRU

47

MCC-WRSU

20

MCC-SOU

10

MCC-IMU

21

MCC-MSU

5

MCCCW

10

OCC

9

SCCC

117

WCC

33

WCCW

24

WSP

36

Ahtanum View

0

Bellingham WR

1

Bishop WR

3

Brownstone WR

0

Eleanor Chase WR

0

Longview WR

0

Olympia WR

0

Peninsula WR

1

Progress House WR

1

Reynolds WR

0

Tri-Cities WR

0

Total to Date

550

 

The concerns shared with the OCO were used to help focus the efforts of the office.  It was through the provided information that we were able to help address issues such as returning individuals from isolation back to their living units, addressing issues with food provided to incarcerated individuals, COVID testing, visitation, PPE concerns, and many other issues.  We were not able to assist with all of the concerns, and far too many went unaddressed; however, having the information on where to focus our limited staff and resources was extremely helpful and allowed us to have a greater impact than we would otherwise have been able to achieve. 

 

Best,

Sonja Hallum

Interim Director

Office of the Corrections Ombuds

 

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