COVID-19 adds another layer of stress to the already difficult situation of helping your loved one navigate the prison system. However, you should not feel in the dark about the impact of COVID-19, and our attorneys at The Cox Law Firm are here to support you. This post describes how COVID-19 has affected the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (“TDCJ”) facilities and policies.

Monitoring the Spread of COVID-19

As of August 3rd, 2020, there have been 112 COVID-related deaths of loved one’s behind bars and 14 TDCJ employees. Additionally, health professionals tested 170,902 offenders and 53,508 employees, of which 16,900 and 3,497 staff tested positive. For the most current totals and COVID-related updates, visit the COVID-19 section of the TDCJ website.

Further, you can monitor the spread of COVID-19 in TDCJ facilities. This interactive map tracks the number of active and recovered cases at each TDCJ location. Regularly check back on your loved one’s facility to stay up to date on the progress to combat the virus.

Safety Measures in TDCJ

Importantly, TDCJ has established several new safety precautions to help slow the spread of COVID-19. First, TDCJ implemented employee and offender screening through temperature checking. Staff will check TDCJ employees daily before they enter the facilities. Anyone who has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher must obtain a doctor’s release before returning to the facility. Once on duty, the TDCJ policy requires that all employees wear masks. Additionally, employees check the temperature of all incoming offenders prior to admittance.

Secondly, TDCJ has increased sanitary precautions throughout their facilities. Using disinfectant approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), TDCJ employees frequently wipe down commonly used surfaces and areas in the units. Lastly, hand-washing is a simple yet effective deterrent to the spread of the virus. Remind your loved one the protective power of frequent hand-washing. For more information on the COVID-19 Safety measures, please visit the following link.

How the Parole Board is Handling COVID-19

Lastly, you are likely wondering how COVID-19 has affected parole hearings. The answer is simple, the Parole Board is largely proceeding as usual. The parole review process has been largely unaffected, despite the Institutional Parole Officers (IPOs) not conducting in-person interviews and the Board primarily relying on teleconference and videoconference interviews with family members, attorneys and victims.

As of now, rest assured that your loved one’s parole case will not be negatively affected by the pandemic. Moving forward, we are here to support you and your loved one through this process and ensure that you stay informed about any future changes that COVID-19 presents in the TDCJ prison system. Please review this article to learn more about how the Parole Board is handling the coronavirus. Additionally, you can learn more about the parole hearing process here.

At the Cox Law Firm, our experienced parole attorneys understand the fear of the coronavirus and urgency to get your loved one paroled as soon as possible. We are here to help you prepare for your loved one’s parole hearing and guide you through the process. If you have any further questions about how COVID-19 is affecting the parole process or want our support to represent your loved one, please contact us.

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