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FAQs

Please find answers to the questions most frequently asked regarding our response and practices during COVID-19. Our goal has and will continue to be the safety of our staff and residents.

If you require further information, please e-mail your specific questions to our Public Information Office at feedback@doc.nh.gov

Does the NHDOC operate the county jails or federal prisons?  

No, the NHDOC has jurisdiction over the New Hampshire State Prison for Men (NHSP-M), the New Hampshire Correctional Facility for Women (NHCFW), the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility (NNHCF), the Transitional Work Center (TWC) and the Transitional Housing Units (Calumet, North End and Shea Farm). County jails are operated by the individual counties. Federal prisons are operated by the federal government – Bureau of Prisons. For more information on the counties in the State of New Hampshire, go to www.nhcounties.org/.  For more information on the federal prisons, go to https://www.bop.gov/.

How is the NHDOC keeping the facilities sanitized?

The Department has always been regimented in keeping facilities sanitized. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) we began in early March, at all NHDOC facilities, to engage in additional sanitization measures above the already elevated measures in place due to cold and flu season. We ensured the disinfectant used in all our facilities - in addition to bleach - is effective against COVID-19.

What are the steps in place if staff or residents show signs of COVID-19?

If a staff member shows any symptom of COVID 19 - fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, headache, sore throat, muscle pain, repeated shaking with chills, new loss of taste and/or smell, fatigue, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea OR a temperature of over 100.0F that staff member shall be referred to the designated medical screener for clearance. If they have two of the above COVID-19 symptoms and NO fever, they shall be referred to the designated medical screener.


If a staff member indicates on the screening form they have been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19 or has been contacted by Public Health due to close contact to self-monitor and quarantine based on CDC guidance, that staff member will be directed to go home and

 

  1. call their healthcare provider or
  2. call their HR representative if they do not have symptoms but need to quarantine due to close contact or travel.

If a staff member has traveled outside of the NH, they will be asked where and their answer will be triaged in partnership with human resources and in line with NH Public Health’s guidance on critical infrastructure employees.


Residents who show any sign of COVID-19 will be isolated and will be attended to by a medical staff member. The NHDOC utilizes the recommended functions of quarantine and medical isolation as outlined in CDC guidance and has plans by facility based on physical plant.

How does the NHDOC determine which residents are tested for COVID-19?

The NHDOC follows CDC guidelines and is in regular communication with NH Public Health for consultation to determine when if appropriate to engage in surveillance testing or point prevalence testing. The NHDOC is in constant examination of testing strategies with residents for COVID-19.  Staff are tested by a provider of their choice and report to our human resources bureau.

Current COVID-19 Guidelines Updated: July 2, 2021

Who will receive face masks?

July 2, 2021 - Mask wearing is voluntary for staff and residents in general. Residents who voluntarily wear masks will wear them under the same standards as described in Attachment 2 of the NHDOC COVID-19 protocols below. NHDOC has supplied all residents with their own fabric face coverings and provides replacements as needed due to normal wear and tear as well as the ability to purchase them through commissary if they wish.

NHDOC follows the recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) Table established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in the guidelines established for Correctional and Detention Facilities.  

 

7-2-21 Updated Protocols

Resident Face covering Update 12/8/2020

Issuance of face coverings for residents

What are the requirements for administrative home confinement (AHC) during the COVID-19 crisis?

The requirements for AHC have not changed. Residents must meet all requirements of PPD 805.01  for consideration. The PPD is available to residents on their tablets.

Can residents be released on medical parole?

In accordance with RSA 651-A:10-a, the Commissioner and the Director of Medical and Forensic services may recommend to the Adult Parole Board, individuals who meet the conditions for medical parole.

How is the NHDOC engaging in physical distancing?

The Department has implemented the recommendations as outlined by the CDC for Correctional and Detention Facilities and made operational adjustments accordingly to include but not limited to:

  • Increased space between individuals waiting in lines and waiting areas, adjusting locations of waiting to larger spaces, moved furniture apart when not affixed to the floor.
  • Created recreational opportunities where individuals can spread out.
  • Stagger time in recreation spaces and schedule them by living unit.
  • Reduce number allowed in groups at one time to 10 or under.
  • Adjusted meal times and movements.
  • Implemented alternatives as appropriate to existing group activities.
  • Rearrange schedule movements to minimize mixing of individuals from different housing areas.

7-2-21 Updated Protocols

What is being done for the medically higher-risk residents in custody?

In addition to increasing sanitization within facilities, staff are amplifying efforts to both monitor and reduce potential exposure and transmission of the virus. Individuals who demonstrate symptoms will be provided with PPE as medically directed, and either quarantined, medically isolated, or transferred to a hospital. A medical team has identified higher-risk residents and providing regular recommendations to adjust operations.

Updated Guidelines 7-2-21

December 4, 2020 Cell feeds for high risk residents 

June 26, 2020 Discontinuation of cell feeds for high risk residents

Cell feeds for high risk residents

Does the NHDOC have a plan to quarantine individuals should there be a positive case in any of the facilities?

Yes, the facilities have plans in place if we have positive or suspected cases of COVID-19 to engage in medical isolation or quarantine as appropriate to the case. CDC has published guidance on the difference between the two and NHDOC has adopted these principles and works in consultation with NH Public Health when and if these situations arise throughout this pandemic.

What steps are you taking to protect staff and residents?

Snapshot of Preventative Measures - Posted June 4, 2020

The NHDOC is taking every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities. Including but not limited to:

  • Providing COVID-19 screenings including temperature checks of all individuals entering NHDOC prison facilities and the Secure Psychiatric Unit.
  • Enhancing sanitization and providing employees and residents access to sanitization products.
  • Adhering to the CDC's physical distancing guidelines in prison activities.
  • Restricting transfers from other correctional facilities.
  • Suspending direct contact visitations and volunteers.
  • Provided 2 fabric face coverings to all residents.
  • Converted to digital parole hearings.

June 9, 2020 Update - Attorney Client Non-Contact Visitation

Attorney Client Communication

Video Visitation

Video Visitation Instructions

Is the NHDOC looking at national trends in corrections for guidance?

The NHDOC has aligned with CDC guidelines and collaborates with NH Public Health We are also monitoring NH DHHS publications and other public health resources to assist us in making quick and responsive operational adjustments with a focus on the health and wellness of our staff and residents.

NHDOC COVID-19 Protocols Updated 7-2-21

NHDOC COVID-19 General & Division Specific Protocols

CDC Friends and Family Resource