Whereas; Correctional Officers are 1st Responders who swear an oath to protect our communities while providing care, custody and control of the incarcerated population in our correctional facilities, and

Whereas; our correctional facilities contain one of the highest risk populations for infectious diseases in the nation, with over 1.5 million incarcerated in confined spaces; and

Whereas; the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been detected in Correctional Officers, the incarcerated and staff in various facilities across the nation; and

Whereas; Correctional Officers face a higher risk of exposure due to their professional responsibilities and required interactions; and

Whereas; stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our correctional facilities is of critical importance to fulfilling our oath of duty to safely maintain care, custody and control as such the restrictions we propose are not designed to be used in a punitive manner; and

Whereas; Correctional Officers and staff will be commuting to and from correctional facilities and possibly exposing their family members and other civilians to possible contagions contracted in the correctional environment; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that as the leaders and voices of hundreds of thousands of Correctional Officers and staff across the country we urge the Governors, Federal Government, and Department Directors to do the following:

  1. immediately cease the ingress and egress of all non-essential personnel into correctional facilities including transitioning all visitations to tele-visits; and
  2. until further notice cease all outside inmate work details, court trips, non-emergency medical appointments, inter-agency transfers of those incarcerated, including interstate compacts, private-public transfers and the transporting of ICE detainees, unless they have been pre-screened for infectious disease, quarantined for fourteen days and show no signs of infection; and
  3. suspend all programs that involve the admittance of non-security or non-medical personnel into the facility; or any activity requiring the transportation of inmates outside of the institution, unless designated as an emergency and specifically authorized by the Commissioner, Secretary or Director of Corrections; and
  4. limit all in-house programs (NA, AA, Chapel, Library access, etc.) to 8 participants at any time. Social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet will be maintained and enforced; and
  5. increase frequency of facility cleaning details, all to be done in accordance with Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, order additional cleaning supplies and PPE’s; and
  6. identify those incarcerated who have a high risk for infection as designated by the CDC, and wherever possible move those so identified into separate housing areas, to include consideration of re-opening areas or facilities that have been recently shuttered or can be re- purposed in a safe, secure and habitable manner; and
  7. require all staff entering a correctional facility to have their temperature taken by a trained individual and deny access to any staff member whose result is at or higher than the CDC’s indicator limits; and
  8. should a staff member be denied entrance by failing the temperature test, is quarantined or contracts COVID-19, their resulting leave shall be considered the result of a hazardous duty injury and will be fully compensated at their regular rate of pay, without being attached to any existing accrued leave time, including sick leave, vacation time, personal leave or comp time; and
  9. should a jurisdiction provide hazardous duty pay to 1st Responders as a result of COVID19, all essential correctional personnel working in said jurisdiction shall be compensated as such; and
  10. temporarily suspend all policies requiring that a specific number of cell, individual and/or property searches be conducted and allow all searches to be conducted at the discretion of the Officers on duty or by written order of a superior officer; and
  11. to provide the best possible protection for staff, and those under our care, custody and control; all security and medical personnel shall be equipped with N95 face masks or the equivalent, hand sanitizer or sanitized wipes and protective gloves. Gloves and masks shall always be worn inside the facility; and
  12. immediately issue informational flyers to all staff, and those in our custody, on how to best avoid contracting COVID-19 and how best to insulate staff, inmates and family members from spreading the infection and the necessary steps to take if infection is suspected or detected; and
  13. assign an information Officer to provide daily updates to staff, seek staff input and promote open, consistent communication throughout the agency and to provide updates to those in our custody, so long as it does not jeopardize safety or security; and
  14. provide a mechanism for staff to be a part of the ongoing strategy to address the current pandemic and a partner in planning for potential future epidemics and other high-risk scenarios; and
  15. all essential corrections personnel and first responders who die as a result of contracting COVID19 shall be considered as having died in the line of duty and their survivors shall be entitled to all benefits afforded officers by their jurisdiction including all benefits afforded by the federal Public Safety Officers Benefits program.

Signed in Unity on this 3rd day of April 2020.

Mary Kay Henry
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Rory Gamble
United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
Byron Osborn
Michigan Corrections Organization
Cecil Roberts
United Mine Workers Association (UMWA)
Michael Powers
New York State Correctional Officer and Police Benevolent Association
Pat Colligan
New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association
Larry Blackwell
Pennsylvania State Correctional Officers Association
Tammie Owens
Prince George’s Correctional Officers Association
Richard Ferruccio
Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers
Randy McLellan
Alaska Correctional Officers Association
Jimmy Davis
State Employees Association of North Carolina
Chris Banton
Anne Arundel County Detention Officers and Personnel
Wayne Spence
New York State Public Employees Federation
Dan Weber
Association of Oregon Corrections Employees
Chris Murphy
National Corrections Employees Union
Ed Sullivan
New Jersey Superior Officers Association
Will Toolen
New Jersey Law Enforcement Supervisors Association
Peter MacKinnon
SEIU Local 509
Bobby Lee Cleveland
Executive Director
Oklahoma Corrections Professionals
Rich Gulla
SEIU Local 1984
Nancy E Cross
Vice President
SEIU Local 1, Missouri Division
Stephen Anderson
CSEA SEIU Local 2001
Bill Nagy
Local State Delegate
New Jersey State PBA Monmouth County
Jonathan Corey
AFSCME Local 419
Kevin Coleman
Essex County Correctional Officers Association
Gregory Trueheart
AFSCME Local 159 Philadelphia, PA
Scott Ward
1st VP
Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Corrections
Brandon Shots
Jefferson County UMWA Local 2007
Dan Shea
Middlesex County Correctional Officers
Brian Klak
Sergeant at Arms
Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association
Tim Cutt
Missouri Correctional Officers Association
Robert Dummy
Cambria County UMWA Local 616
William Young
Riverside Sheriffs Association
Chris Bernette
Fayette County UMWA Local 9113
David Sims
Westmoreland County UMWA Local 522
Rodney Constable
Elk County UMWA Local 8119
Micki Fink
Clarion County UMWA Local 016
Mark Keffer
Somerset County UMWA Local 2004
Eric Miller
Indiana County UMWA Local 4802