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Spokane Co. Detention Services issue emergency protocols due to COVID-19

Social visits to the Spokane County Jail are suspended.
Credit: KREM
There have been eight deaths since June 2017 in the Spokane County Jail, ranging from suicides to drug overdoses.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Spokane County Detention Services declared emergency protocols Monday at the county jail due to COVID-19 concerns. 

According to a memo from the Spokane County Detention Services Director Michael Sparber, social visits to the Spokane County Jail are suspended. Church volunteers and programs have also been suspended as well as other non-essential professional visits. Attorneys and pre-trial services are still okay with the use of visiting booths.     

All employees at the jail will be screened by on-duty shift sergeant or designee for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 at the beginning of their shifts at a secure portion of the building. This will begin Tuesday, according to the memo. 

The memo said there are no plans to change shifts or work hours. 

On Thursday, the Department of Corrections suspended visitation and other events at its facilities, including the Airway Heights Corrections Center.

The department is working to implement enhanced screening protocols for all employees/contract staff, incarcerated people and others entering its facilities to include taking temperatures and answering screening questionnaires.

Until the Department is able to put protocols into place, they are taking the following actions effective March 13:

  • Suspending visitation at all correctional facilities in Washington, including extended family visits (EFV). Corrections has authorized reimbursement for families scheduled for EFVs;
  • Restricting access for all individuals, with the exception of employees/contract staff and legal professionals, to the Monroe Correctional Complex, Washington Corrections Center and Washington Corrections Center for Women; and
  • Suspending all tours and events involving four or more outside guests at all facilities.

“The Department did not make this decision without extensive discussion,” said Secretary Steve Sinclair. “We know how important visitation and events are to our incarcerated population and their families. Leading up to this, we’d implemented increased cleaning protocols, distributed enhanced health services guidelines and encouraged the incarcerated population to take extra precautions. While we anticipate moving to enhanced screening fairly soon so we can restore visitation, we encourage friends and family to keep in contact during this time utilizing JPay, video visiting, telephone calls and mail correspondence.”

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