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Emergency Actions at Correctional Facilities for COVID-19 Outbreak

Acciones de emergencia implementadas en las instalaciones penitenciarias debido al brote de COVID-19 (PDF)

Under the direction of King County Executive Dow Constantine, we are quickly and safely reducing the number of people who are in custody to provide our healthcare professionals the space they need to follow recommendations by Public Health -- Seattle & King County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We are working with our partners in the criminal justice system -- courts, King County Department of Public Defense, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Department of Corrections, and law enforcement -- to reduce the population at our two adult facilities so we can provide single bunks for everyone in custody as advised by Public Health. It also will provide our Jail Health Services staff with more room to isolate people who are at a higher risk of severe complications.

Here is the news release announcing immediate actions to further decrease the number of people who are in custody.

Taking action to ensure everyone's health and safety

Here are some of the emergency actions we have taken so far to promote social distancing as directed by King County’s Health Officer and to slow the virus’ spread:

Adult Division

  • We have cancelled public visitation at correctional facilities. This includes onsite video kiosks. Video visits are now available at no cost to users. Professional window visitations and face-to-face visitation will continue as normal.  
  • We have cancelled group activities and are exploring options to continue access to programs like education and religious services, while still promoting social distancing.
  • We are offering increased access to other existing recreational programs and activities, including cards, games, books, movies, and recreation yard, as appropriate.
  • We have transferred inmates who are not symptomatic but who are at a higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 – those 60 and older with underlying health conditions – to a housing unit at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent to reduce exposure to the larger population.
  • We have increased cleaning at both facilities.
  • We have enhanced screening at the pre-booking area, with Jail Health Services staff conducting further evaluations if someone exhibits symptoms before booking begins.
  • We are screening all staff members and professional visitors when they arrive at the facility.
  • If someone in custody tests positive for COVID-19, we will practice the same procedures we do for similar outbreaks. We will place them in medical isolation to appropriate care, use appropriate personal protective equipment, and use infection control measures to reduce the risk of transmission similar to what do for influenza.

Juvenile Division

  • We have temporarily suspended all face-to-face visitation. Youth can connect with parents and guardians with free phone calls and video visitations.
  • While Seattle Public Schools are closed, youth are still following the school schedule and engaging in educational activities.
  • Youth are still participating in religious services while practicing social distancing. We are exploring ways to offer live streaming and remote visitation options.
  • We have increased cleaning at the facility.
  • We have enhanced screening when youth are admitted to the facility, with health clinic staff conducting further evaluations if youth exhibit symptoms.
  • We are screening all staff members and professional visitors when they arrive at the facility. 
  • Instead of in-person visits, we encourage you to use the video visitation option. Contact Securus Video Visitation at 1-877-578-3658 or go to www.videovisitanywhere.com to sign up for “Anywhere Video Visitation.”

We will keep you updated

We understand these actions will affect all of those who receive or provide services at our correctional facilities. We believe these changes, based on guidance from Public Health -- Seattle & King County, will improve the safety for everyone.

We will post updates on this website. For the latest on King County’s response to the pandemic, go to Public Health Insider.


COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

A: As of March 30, no one in custody has tested positive for COVID-19, though given that this is a pandemic, we are taking emergency precautions to ensure everyone's health and safety.

A: If someone tests positive for COVID-19, we transfer them to a dedicated housing unit at the Maleng Regional Justice Center where we will provide them with appropriate care in medical isolation using personal protective equipment and infection control measures. 

A: As of March 30, one staff member -- a correctional officer at the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle -- has reported testing positive for COVID-19. He called his shift commander on March 16 to report that he had tested positive. He was last at work on March 8. Leadership at the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention followed up to connect him and his family with all available resources.

A: There were 1,370 adults in custody on March 30, down from 1,940 on March 1. There were 32 youth at the Children and Family Justice Center on March 25, down from 43 on March 13.

A: We have already reduced the number of adults who are in custody by about 600 people since March by working with our partners in the criminal justice system. We have asked law enforcement to only book people who pose an imminent risk to public safety.

We are working with each of our partners in the criminal justice system to further decrease the population as quickly as possible to provide our staff with the opportunities to keep everyone in our facilities healthy and safe.

A: The population at the Children and Family Justice Center is already low enough that each youth has their own individual dorm room where our healthcare providers and other staff members are able to provide individualized care. On March 25, there were 31 youth at the Children and Family Justice Center, down from 43 on March 13. 

We are working with the Superior Court, Juvenile Probation, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Public Defense to identify any youth who might qualify for release in order to further reduce the number of youth at the Children and Family Justice Center as part of our emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A: A droplet precaution is a standard practice recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of infectious diseases through what are known as droplets, fluids that are spread through coughing and sneezing. It’s the same precaution we take to prevent the spread of influenza. If someone exhibits symptoms of an infectious disease known to be spread by droplets, we place them in an isolated individual room where our staff provides them with appropriate care while wearing personal protective equipment to avoid any potential spread of infection.

We place a mask on the person in custody during transfers and anytime they are receiving care. If the person tests positive for COVID-19 or any other infectious disease, we would continue to isolate them from the general population and staff until they are no longer exhibiting symptoms and have been cleared by a medical provider to return to the general population.

A: We have transferred people in custody who are at a higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 – 60 or older with underlying health conditions – but who are not symptomatic to a designated housing unit at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent where we can provide appropriate care in medical isolation using personal protective equipment.

A: Yes, if the patient’s condition exceeds the ability of our health staff to meet their needs, we will transfer them to a higher level of appropriate care at a medical center.

A: The courts, not jails, determine how long someone is in custody. We are working with courts -- along with public defenders, prosecutors, corrections, and law enforcement -- to quickly and safely decrease the number of people who enter correctional facilities, providing our staff with the space they need to keep everyone healthy and safe in our correctional facilities.

Our goal is to reduce the population at King County’s two adult correctional facilities so we are best able to promote social distancing as recommended by Public Health – Seattle & King County.

These actions will help us maintain public safety and ensure the health and safety of everyone in our correctional facilities, including our correctional officers and health services staff. 

A: We are working with our partners in the criminal justice system to further reduce the adult population so that we can provide single bunks for everyone in custody as recommended by Public Health – Seattle & King County. That is also providing our Jail Health Services employees with more opportunities to isolate people who are at a higher risk of severe complications.

We have cancelled public visitation at our facilities and now offer video visits at no cost to users. We also cancelled group activities at adult correctional facilities. We are exploring options to continue access to programs, such as education and religious services, that still promote social distancing. In the meantime, staff will offer increased access to other existing recreational programs and activities, including cards, games, books, movies and recreation yard as appropriate.

A: Jail Health Service is implementing specific guidelines for diagnosis and medical management of people in custody who have a respiratory illness -- including testing protocols for those who exhibit symptoms -- now that testing capacity has expanded.

A: Yes, as of March 17, we are not accepting people who are arrested for violating the terms of their state Department of Corrections (DOC) community supervision. We are also working with DOC to transfer anyone who is in a King County correctional facility on a DOC warrant back to state custody. This could result in all 180 people in custody for DOC warrants transferring back to DOC custody as soon as March 26. This will help ensure that our staff has the adequate space they need to isolate people in custody who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

We have also asked law enforcement to prioritize jail bookings for those who pose the most immediate risk to public safety during the pandemic to create more opportunities and space in our correctional facilities for increased social distancing as advised by the Public Health Officer.

A: We welcome the action taken by the Supreme Court and support their ruling. It will accelerate the actions we are taking to quickly and safely decrease the number of people who are in custody so our staff can ensure the health of everyone in our correctional facilities. Our goal is to either provide everyone who is in custody with the best care possible or find the safest alternative to incarceration as quickly as possible.

We are working with our partners in the criminal justice system to ensure public safety as well as the health and safety of everyone in our correctional facilities, both those who work in our facilities and those who are in our care.

Many law enforcement agencies have prioritized jail bookings for those who pose the most immediate risk to public safety. We are also not accepting people who are arrested for violating the terms of their state Department of Corrections community supervision. All of this has helped us quickly decrease the number of people who are in custody, but we must accelerate this effort for the health and safety of everyone in our community.

As far as impacting operations, the Supreme Court ruling changes who appears in in court first, and how people in jail appear in court. The Supreme Court order prioritizes people who the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorize at the greatest risk of severe complications. If a hearing is required for someone who is at risk, it must be scheduled within five days. Courts are ordered to have appearances by telephone and by video in order to minimize the spread of the virus.

A: Every person in custody who arrives at one of our correctional facilities receives a health screening. Our Jail Health staff members are now conducting enhanced evaluations if anyone is exhibiting symptoms at intake before their placement. We now take the temperature of everyone who arrives at correctional facility, including staff members and professional visitors such as attorneys.


King County inmates may be housed in the Maleng Regional Justice Center (MRJC) located in Kent or at the King County Correctional Facility (KCCF) located in Seattle. Do you need to locate an adult inmate? Use our Jail Inmate Lookup Service.

Our goal is to keep these disruptions to visiting hours to a minimum, but changes and cancellations to visiting hours could occur at any time, based on staff availability.

In-person visitation at both the Seattle and Kent locations may be affected, and the video visitation kiosks in the reception area in Kent may be impacted. However, video visitation using your own computer, tablet, or smart phone will still be available.

We encourage you to use the video visitation option. Contact Securus Video Visitation at 1-877-578-3658 or https://securustech.net/en/web/securus/videovisitation to learn more and sign up for “Anywhere Video Visitation.”

King County Juvenile Detention is responsible for the care and custody of youth who are detained in the Youth Services Center. Click on the link above for more information related to juvenile detainees.

To promote social distancing as directed by King County’s Public Health Officer in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, public visitation is suspended at all correctional facilities until further notice. This includes onsite video kiosks.

There are no restrictions at this time for professional visits.

Video Visitation at Adult Facilities

Adults who are in custody can schedule video visitation sessions each week at no cost to friends and family. Detailed instructions can be found on the Visiting Information webpage.

For more information call Securus at 1-877-578-3658 or visit at http://securus.custhelp.com/app/answers/list Find information on visiting adult inmates at the Seattle or Kent jail. If you don't know which facility is housing an inmate, use our Jail Inmate Lookup Service to find their location. Please be advised that public video visits and inmate telephone calls are recorded and subject to monitoring.

Video Visitation at the Children and Family Justice Center

Video visitation at the Children and Family Justice Center is available at no cost. You can sign up for Securus Video Visitation or you the free Securus mobile app for Apple or Google Play devices.

Parents and Guardians can follow these steps:

  1. Create an account by going to www.videovisitanywhere.com or downloading the free Securus APP on your smartphone or tablet
  2. Request access to youth by using their ID number
  3. Schedule an appointment.

Video Visitation for Attorneys

If you are an attorney, follow the “Getting Started” instructions and when prompted, select “Attorney” for private video visitation sessions. You will be required to provide your Bar ID which will be validated by department staff. You must complete this process to ensure private video sessions are not recorded.

For more information call Securus at 1-877-578-3658 or visit at http://securus.custhelp.com/app/answers/list

Do you need to contact an adult inmate? Here are information and guidelines on contacting an adult inmate by phone or mail.

Need information on contacting a juvenile detainee? Here are information and guidelines on contacting a juvenile detainee by phone or mail.

For a timely response from King County Public Health - Jail Health Services, please email the information to JHSRequests@kingcounty.gov . Please include the inmates name, booking number, the nature of your concern, and your contact information. You may also call 206-296-1234 and follow the prompts and leave a message. To find the inmates booking number, please use our Jail Inmate Lookup Service.

Need to post bail? Here's a link with information on how to post bail. Looking for a bail bonding company? Try this link to a list of approved bonding companies.

The Resource Guide was prepared under the direction of the King County Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention to assist those leaving detention and returning to the community. The Resource Guide provides links and contact information about resources that may be able to provide assistance in areas like housing, domestic violence, health care, alchohol & drug treatment and counseling services among other topics.

Didn't find what you were looking for? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions to find answers to the most commonly asked questions.

We're always on the lookout for qualified corrections officers, detention officers and other staff. Here's a link to our DAJD jobs web page, where you can also watch the full length videos below. 






 

Our community corrections programs strive to use evidence-based practices that promote pro-social behaviors and lifestyles. Our alternatives and services are available to persons charged with an offense who are incarcerated or who are facing incarceration. In order to be eligible to participate, a person must be ordered to the program by the court. The court may use the alternative programs pretrial and after conviction. All persons ordered must be statutorily eligible for the program. Learn more about community corrections programs...

Adult Detention Information DAJDStarsmall

King County operates two adult detention facilities; the King County Correctional Facility located in Seattle and the Maleng Regional Justice Center located in Kent.

King County Correctional Facility
500 5th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104

Maleng Regional Justice Center
620 W. James St.
Kent, WA 98032