Clackamas County Jail Has Been ‘Regional Leader’ in Covid-19 Response, Sheriff Says

The Clackamas County Jail has been a “regional leader” in its response to Covid-19, Sheriff Craig Roberts said this week, implementing “effective protocols emulated by jails across the state.”

The sheriff explained that the jails protocols to prevent an outbreak of the novel coronavirus among staff and those in custody include staff training on the spread of Covid-19 in correctional settings, the procurement and use of personal protective equipment and enhanced cleaning procedures.

The jail has also beefed up its screening of prisoners during intake and is conducted “targeted medical screening protocols” for its medical staff. Any subjects presenting Covid-like symptoms are being rerouted, in coordination with regional prisoner-transport programs, the sheriff added.

The Clackamas County Jail was well-positioned to be a leader in the response to the pandemic, having just earned a rare distinction for Oregon jails: full medical accreditation.

The Accreditation and Standards Committee of the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) voted on April 3 to accredit the jail for complying with NCCHC’s Standards for Health Services in Jails.

“This is a huge accomplishment for our office, and was directly due to the incredibly hard work of our jail and medical staff,” said Sheriff Roberts. “It’s a goal we’ve been working toward for some time.”

The accreditation process involved a detailed external peer review — including a site survey — to ensure the Jail met national standards for the provision of health services, as set by the health, legal and corrections professions.

But, “this wasn’t just about meeting standards,” says Jail Health Service Administrator Melanie Menear. “It was about being the best we can be, and exceeding expectations for what we do every day. And it’s about the relationship we’ve developed with the jail division over the past 15 months.”

Only two sheriff’s offices in Oregon have earned this accreditation. According to the sheriff’s office, it demonstrates their “commitment to providing a nationally accepted standard of care in health services delivery.”

It also signals a constitutionally acceptable level of care for a facility’s inmates — which translates into improved health status, fewer grievances and lawsuits, and reduced health risk to the community when inmates are released.

“Gaining full accreditation — especially on the first try — is no small feat,” said Sheriff Roberts. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible work of our Jail staff, [medical services contractor] NaphCare, and Jail Captain Eby’s focused leadership.”

Photos courtesy the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office:

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