The Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections (BOC) has been working closely on screening and treatment protocols for BOC staff or any offender housed at a BOC facility if they are diagnosed as having contracted COVID-19.
It is important to note there are no known cases of COVID-19 among any staff or offenders at any BOC facility at this time.
Effective immediately, the Bureau will suspend in-person visitations at all correctional facilities to limit the opportunity for COVID-19 to be introduced into a facility. It will also suspend all volunteer programs, work details and furloughs until further notice.
Below is detailed information about BOC protocols related to COVID-19.
BOC has prepared and distributed educational materials targeting health care staff, custody personnel and offenders. These include face-to-face and telephonic briefings, conducted by BOC medical experts as well as the copying and posting of flyers released by the Virgin Islands Department of Health (VIDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BOC has also distributed to its medical and mental staff a webinar hosted by the American Correctional Association on the topic of preparing for COVID-19 in the correctional setting.
Infection Control Materials
We are ensuring that BOC facilities and health care units have sufficient inventories of the supplies necessary to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including appropriate disinfection and medical treatment materials. All BOC offenders have access to clean running water with soap — the CDC’s recommended method to prevent spreading the virus.
Screening for Potential Infection
BOC is screening for COVID-19 at those points where the virus would be most likely to enter the system: the offender reception centers where individuals new to the prison system are first housed.
The Bureau of Corrections is also screening all parole violators who are returned to the system because these individuals have been exposed to unknown external environments. BOC will also be using a COVID-19 inmate screening tool to assess the risk posed by new inmates and detainees.
Isolation of Suspected COVID-19 Patients
If BOC screenings reveal that an offender (a) has recently been in a location known to have an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus; and (b) is showing symptoms associated with the virus, the Bureau will immediately isolate that person and contact VI Department of Health so that it can come to the facility and evaluate the person.
Coordination with Other Agencies
BOC is in communication with the Department of Health on an ongoing basis, coordinating with that agency on all aspects of our COVID-19 strategy, from screening protocols and education and treatment recommendations. Additionally, all BOC infection control policies, educational materials and treatment protocols relating to COVID-19 comply with the recommendations published by the CDC.
BOC will continue to collaborate with DOH, CDC and other state and federal agencies to protect the health and wellbeing of offenders and staff who live and work in BOC facilities. It has proactively partnered with these agencies to design and implement a plan to prevent and combat any spread of COVID-19 in BOC correctional facilities, and it will continue to do so until the threat of a COVID-19 pandemic has passed.
Bureau of Corrections, Government of the Virgin Islands can be reached at: St. Croix 340-778-0400; St. Thomas 340-714-8300; Fax: 340-778-2929 or https://boc.vi.gov