CIC | District of Columbia Corrections Information Council
Friday March 27, 2020
For Immediate Release
RE: CIC Visit to Hope Village on Thursday, March 26, 2020
As part of its ongoing oversight activities, the CIC has been in regular correspondence with Hope Village executive staff for the last several weeks regarding their preparations and response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Hope Village has advised the CIC several times during the last two weeks regarding to their operational changes, which includes limiting residents' ability to go out
into the community, discontinuing family visitation, and adjusting programming and services within the facility. On Thursday March 26, 2020, the CIC conducted a site visit at Hope Village in response to community concerns raised this week about inadequate supplies. CIC staff had a conversation with Hope Village executive staff and program staff, as well as the BOP Residential Re-Entry Manager - who participated via speaker phone. CIC asked a number of questions about updated policies for daily activities at Hope Village, as well as questions about programming, movement, transit between facilities, visitation, and release. CIC staff then walked through the dining areas currently in use and several areas where suppliesand food are being stored. CIC was not permitted to conduct individual interviews with currentresidents, but Hope Village staff indicated that – with approval from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP)- a future time would be scheduled to provide that opportunity. We have organized our observations below by area of concern.
Covid-19 testing and treatment
As of our visit, no staff had been tested for Covid-19, and there were no concerns about staff health. Three residents had been tested for Covid-19 - with two tests coming up negative, and
one still awaiting results. Hope Village staff told the CIC that all staff members are trained in CPR. The CIC saw the first aid closet, including rehydration supplies, masks, gloves, thermometers, several packages of protective suits, and additional cleaner and first aid supplies.
Staff indicated that they are trying to achieve social distancing during meals by opening up a second dining area in a vacant apartment. The CIC viewed the two dining spaces currently being used for meals.Staff indicated that approximately 20-25 people are eating in each space at a given time. This would mean five people to each of five or six round tables in each space. Each table is approximately 5 feet in diameter. Staff indicated that all food deliveries are currently happening as scheduled. In addition to viewing storerooms for non-perishable food (large cans of vegetables, fruit, and beans, and large bags of rice and flour) near the kitchen facilities, the CIC viewed an empty apartment currently being used to store additional supplies, which was well-stocked with cases of canned vegetables, canned fruit, rice, pasta, and condiments. Staff also indicated that residents can bring large containers with them to meals to refill on filtered water and other beverages. Residents can also come down between meals to refill liquids with permission from staff.
The CIC viewed Hope Village's current stock of paper products and cleaning supplies. In the storage area near the kitchens, the CIC saw jugs of pink cleaner, bleach, spray cleaner with
bleach, and Pine-Sol disinfectant. In the apartment being used for storage, one room contained twenty cases of toilet tissue and nine cases of nitrile gloves. The CIC found that Hope Village
possesses an adequate supply of hygiene and cleaning products for staff and residents. It should also be noted that the DOC conducted its own independent investigation, and found that Hope
Village has adequate hygiene and cleaning supplies.Hope Village staff indicated that residents are still required to clean their apartments each morning, and cleaning supplies including disinfectant, are available in each building for the residents to use at any time. Staff also indicated that each resident has their own bar of soap; they are not required to share with other residents.
Per staff, toilet tissue is distributed on Tuesdays and Fridays each week, with quantities dependent on the number ofresidents in a unit. Staff are also cleaning high-traffic areas more frequently, particularly light switches and doorhandles.
Hope Village staff provided a memo dated March 20, 2020 describing the policy for family members to drop off supplies to residents at Hope Village. Each building at Hope Village has a designated day and time for drop-offs, and families are permitted to provide toiletries, packaged food, and bottled water. Families are not allowed to provide cleaning supplies due to safety issues.
According to the BOP Residential Reentry Manager, applications for home confinement are being processed with modifications. The BOP still requires that the proposed location have a landline, but is allowing home confinement locations to be reviewed via Skype, and for host family visits to be conducted by phone. The BOP has also waived social pass requirements for home confinement. Hope Village staff indicated that they had four individuals releasing to home confinement this week, and four more planned for next week. The BOP Residential Reentry Manager indicated that transfers from BOP institutions to Hope Village are still ongoing by order of the Department of Justice. Individuals being released from BOP institutions are being screened for Covid 19 per BOP's current policy on transfers (including temperature and symptom checks).
Other Daily Functions
Hope Village executive staff indicated that they are still conducting groups, including drug treatment and transitional skills journaling, but they are operating in smaller groups while having
people sit several seats away from each other to maintain social distance. Mental health counseling is also still being provided, and staff indicated that they have suggested setting up phone sessions with Community Connections for residents. Residents are being allowed out of their buildings into the parking lot for 30 minutes at a time to get fresh air. Subsistence payments were suspended as of March 20, 2020.
Donald L. Isaac, Sr.
DC Corrections Information Council (CIC)
1400 I Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005