COVID-19 (Coronavirus): FAQs



​​The Wisconsin Department of Corrections is working hard to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff, the public and those in our care. The following information changes frequently and will be updated on a regular basis.​

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​Expanded Testing for Staff and Persons in our Care​

Have all DOC staff and persons in your care been tested for COVID-19?

Yes. All Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) staff who work in secure facilities were required to be tested during mass testing events early in the pandemic, which also included persons in our care. DOC, in collaboration with the Department of Health Services (DHS) and Wisconsin National Guard, continues to conduct scheduled mass testing of persons in our care. In addition, DOC continues to test persons in our care when they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, as well as at intake, transfer and release. Starting in November 2020, staff in secure facilities have been on a schedule that calls for testing once every two weeks by Accelerated LAbs. This is in accordance with the recommendation of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to test all staff of congregate care facilities every other week

Currently, DOC and the National Guard have a schedule that results in mass testing of persons in our care at every DOC facility at least once a month. Some rely on the National Guard for testing, while others perform testing with staff resources. In addition, some facilities have adjusted their schedules to test more often than once a month.

If the DOC sees a spike in positive cases at an institution, the agency would work with the National Guard to amend the schedule and prioritize the site experiencing an outbreak.

Who administers COVID-19 tests? 

Full testing of staff and PIOC was initially conducted by the National Guard WING Mobile Specimen Collection Team.  Ongoing, additional testing of PIOC is also being conducted by the Wisconsin National Guard. Persons in our care are also tested when they display symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and at intake, transfer and release. Institution staff are tested by Accelerated Labs.

What happens when staff test positive for COVID-19? 

All staff with a positive COVID-19 test will be directed to self-quarantine at home per CDC guidelines. Staff members who test positive and show symptoms will be able to return to their worksite when they meet two criteria: (1) at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms, and (2) they are symptom free for more than 24 hours. Asymptomatic positive cases must quarantine until 10 days since the date of the positive test or until they can show two negative tests.

Are test results of PIOC shared with their family and loved ones? 

Due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy laws, we are restricted from discussing a patient's protected health information with anyone other than the patient without written authorization from the patient. The individual is able to share their test results directly with family and loved ones if they choose to do so. 


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Facility Entrance Screening and Testing

Note:  For the purpose of these FAQs, the term “employee" refers to any permanent, project, LTE or contracted/agency staff person entering an adult or juvenile correctional facility. 

The DOC issued FAQs during the COVID-19 pandemic to cover staff screening, testing and vaccinations.  Because the State of Wisconsin is resuming full operations effective July 5th, the Screening/Testing/Vaccination FAQ document has been modified considerably to remove outdated information.

General Screening/Testing & Return to Work Questions:

Are DOC facilities still screening employees prior to being allowed entrance?

All adult and juvenile correctional facilities continue to require employee screening prior to being admitted into the institution. Additionally, all staff assigned to the Correctional Officer Pre-Service (COPS) Training Academy or attending other congregate setting training where staff may not be able to socially distance (e.g. POSC), will also undergo screening. The screening includes a passive screening (a series of questions), and an active screening (a temperature check).

Who is subject to passive screening and temperature checks?

Any employee at an adult or juvenile correctional facility must submit to a screening prior to entering the facility.  This includes staff normally assigned to the facility as well as any employee from anywhere else in the agency who is visiting or temporarily assigned to the location.  In addition, employees in COPs or employees attending training in a congregate setting where students may not be able to socially distance (e.g. POSC) must also submit to a screening prior to entering training. 

Why are we required to get screened prior to coming into work?

Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), correctional and detention facilities can include custody, housing, education, recreation, healthcare, food service, and workplace components in a single physical setting. The integration of these components presents unique challenges for control of COVID-19 transmission among persons in our care, and staff. Screening employees assists the Department in reducing the risk of exposure of COVID-19 into the facilities.

What happens if an employee does not pass the passive screening or temperature check?

Employees who do not pass the passive screening or temperature check at a facility will be deemed “unfit for duty" and must be immediately sent home. Participants who do not pass the screening or temperature check at CTC will not be allowed to attend in-person training and will be directed to leave and contact their supervisor for further direction on work status.

If the employee is not able to immediately leave the workplace due to transportation issues, the employee should be separated in a non-public area. Alternative transportation should be encouraged if the employee uses public transportation to get to work.

Human resources staff should be available for consultation to supervisors and CTC trainers unsure about whether to send an employee home or deny in-person training.

Does the Department have the authority to subject employees to COVID-19 testing?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance on April 23rd related to employer required COVID-19 testing.   The EEOC explained that due to the COVID-19 pandemic “employers may take steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19 because the individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of others."  Consequently, employers who can meet this standard may administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the work place. 

Are DOC facilities still requiring employees to submit regularly to COVID testing? 

The DOC is still currently testing unvaccinated employees working at 24/7 Adult and Juvenile facilities every two weeks.  Vaccinated employees who wish to opt-out of the regular testing may do so by filling out an opt-out form (DOC-3791) and showing proof of vaccination to Human Resources.  For more information on the opt-out process, please contact your local HR Office. 

What does the COVID-19 test entail? 

The current testing method involves a basic nasal swab. 

What if an employee refuses to submit to screening/testing when required?

Employees who refuse to submit to mandatory screening or testing at a facility will be will be deemed unfit for duty, sent home and may be subject to discipline for insubordination.  Employees will be in unpaid status.  Supervisors should work closely with their HR representatives if this should occur. 

Employees who refuse to submit to the screening/temperature checks at CTC will not be allowed to attend in-person training and the situation will be referred to the supervisor to follow with the employee as appropriate (i.e. possible discipline, reschedule training, etc.).

What happens if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?

The DOC continues to follow state and federal guidance.  Information on how to handle employees who test positive for COVID-19 can be found at the following link.

Are employees in pay status during the screening/testing?

Yes, employees are in pay status during the screening, regardless of normal work unit policies or practices.  This direction covers daily screening procedures as well as when the COVID-19 testing occurs. Depending on the size of the institution, this may mean additional hours of work. Facilities may require employees to report prior to the assigned shift to accomplish the screening/testing. 

How will the screening/testing be conducted and who will know the results?

Each facility/location will establish procedures for the screenings/testing which will be conducted based on available resources.  Appropriately trained and designated staff (health professionals, supervisors or HR employees) will administer the passive and temperature check screenings.

The DOC will utilize trained individuals from the Wisconsin National Guard or trained individuals from a contracted service to administer the COVID-19 testing.

Regardless of who administers the passive screening, temperature checks or COVID-19 testing, the screening/testing will be done privately, and results will be considered confidential medical records and will be maintained separately for each employee who is screened/tested as required under the ADA.

DOC's process will ensure this information and any recorded results are kept confidential. The information will be treated as DOC treats all other medical information collected for disability-related purposes.  Documentation will be required releasing the employee to full duty prior to returning to work. 

The EEOC has indicated that disclosure of the name of an employee who tests positive for COVID to public health departments to assist in contact tracing is permitted.  Should the DOC be asked for that information by a public health department, the DOC will comply with the request.  

If an employee was previously tested for COVID-19, can the employee be exempted from the DOC's temperature check and passive screening procedures?

No.  All employees will be screened to assess current health status and potential risk to the workforce.

What if an employee takes their temperature at home and doesn't have a fever?

DOC will rely on the results of the reading conducted at the time of the check under the DOC's authorized procedures.

Will employees be required to use their own leave time if sent home due to a failed screening or a positive COVID-19 test?   

Employees will be required to use personal paid leave time just as they would if they are sent home or call-in sick due to other illnesses.  Employees should work with their local Human Resources Offices if they have questions. 

What if an employee has been in close contact with someone that tested positive for COVID-19?

The DOC continues to follow state and federal guidance.  Information on how to handle employee return to work questions can be found at the following link.  For classifications with staffing shortages, the DOC follows the CDC's critical infrastructure guidance which provides exceptions to current home quarantine practices after an exposure to COVID-19 for some workers. The guidance advises that employers may permit workers who have had an exposure to COVID-19, but who do not have symptoms, to continue to work, provided they adhere to additional safety precautions, such as measuring the employee's temperature and assessing for symptoms of COVID-19 before each work shift (“pre-screening"), asking the employee to self-monitor for symptoms during their work shift, and requiring appropriate PPE (e.g. approved face coverings).  

Additionally, per the DHS guidance and March 18, 2020 memo to the Department of Corrections, this exception should only be used for healthcare workers or where quarantine would present a public safety threat such as with in the case of DOC facility positions where staffing shortages are a safety concern and mandating quarantine due to exposure would exacerbate the staffing concerns.  DHS also issued Health Alert #16, on September 10th to further clarify that quarantine requirements may be modified in circumstances where excluding a person from work could result in an imminent threat to patient care, public health or public safety.  These circumstances should be approved on a case-by-case basis as opposed to a blanket approach. Units are encouraged to work closely with the local public health department.

Are employees required to wear masks?

In accordance with CDC guidance and the state Stop the Spread guidelines, employees who are vaccinated will not be required to wear masks in most work locations.  The DOC is following the CDC guidance about masks in congregate living facilities and will continue to require masks at the 24/7 adult and juvenile facilities. 

Will an employee be paid if called in for testing on a day off?

The Department will utilize the language in the State Compensation Plan related to Call-Back/Call-In Pay.  Specifically, employees will be guaranteed a minimum of two hours of pay if called back for duty or called in on the employee's day off. 

How long does it take for test results to be available?

Results typically take 24-48 hours, but variations to this timeline may occur.

Will the employee be allowed to work while a mass-screening or asymptomatic test result is pending?

Yes, provided the employee passes the other workplace screenings and is not presenting symptoms consistent with COVID. 

What if I already tested positive for COVID 19?

At this time, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has recommended NOT requiring retesting of recovered individuals who are within 3 months (~12 weeks) of a positive test because the virus can continue to result in positive test outcomes when the person has fully recovered and is no longer contagious.

Individuals beyond 3 months of a positive test will be included again in future testing schedules and if positive again, the positive result will be treated as a new infection requiring isolation per protocols.

The DOC will continue to follow DHS guidance on when to test individuals.  Positive test results include results from DOC testing, community testing or testing with a medical provider. 

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COVID-19 Vaccinations

Will the vaccination be mandatory?

No.  The DOC considers the health and safety of the staff and PIOC, clients and youth a top priority.  As such we strongly encourage employees to be vaccinated, but employees will not be required to receive the vaccination.   Employees interested in vaccination location information should visit the Department of Health Services website.

What happens if I get sick after receiving the vaccination and cannot perform my job duties?

Employees should follow the Leave Benefits policy and any other procedures related to being absent from work.

What happens if I fail the passive screening or temperature check due to side effects from the vaccine?

Since the DOC does not know what side effects, if any, an employee might have after being vaccinated, the DOC will follow the same screening precautions as normal.  If any of the systemic signs and symptoms are present (e.g., fever, fatigue, headache, chills, etc.) that are consistent with post-vaccination side effects, the employee may return to work without COVID testing if they meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Feel well enough to work
  • Fever free
  • No other symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, change in smell/taste, etc.)

    Employees exhibiting any symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, change in smell/taste, etc.) or any other symptoms that are not typical post-vaccination may not return and should follow the return-to-work guidelines in #12 and work with their local human resources office.

Will I be required to quarantine if I'm vaccinated and have close contact with someone who tests positive?  

The DOC continues to follow state and federal guidance.  Information on how to handle employee return to work questions can be found at the following link.

Will I be required to tell the DOC if I've been vaccinated?

While the EEOC has indicated employers can require employees to show proof of vaccination if there is a business need, the DOC currently does not require disclosure unless an employee working at a 24/7 adult or juvenile facility wishes to opt-out of the regular COVID testing.  In those cases, the employee will be required to show proof of vaccination.

If I get vaccinated, do I have to continue to be tested?

The DOC will continue regular testing at adult and juvenile 24/7 facilities for unvaccinated employees.  Vaccinated employees may choose to opt-out of the regular testing by submitting an opt-out form and showing proof of vaccination to HR.  For employing units without HR on-site, supervisors may be utilized for the verification process. For more information about the opt-out process, employees should contact their local HR Office or site leadership.  ​


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Cleaning and Sanitation

What sanitation and disinfectant protocols are being used to clean the facilities?

All DOC locations have established intensive cleaning protocols with an emphasis on sanitizing high touch surfaces, routine cleaning of critical areas and increased personal hygiene. Additionally, sanitation and disinfectant protocols have been enhanced at all facilities and offices. Quantities of cleaning supplies and hand soap for use by staff and persons in our care have been increased at all facilities. As recommended by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), frequent handwashing remains the preferred method of virus prevention.

Do staff and persons in your care have access to hot water and soap?

Staff members and persons in our care have access to hot water and soap and have been directed to engage in proper and frequent handwashing techniques as one of the most effective means of preventing the spread of the virus. Additionally, we are encouraging individuals to practice proper hygiene and universal preventative precautions including social distancing and wearing masks wherever possible.

Do staff and persons in your care have access to hand sanitizer?

DOC is providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer in institution common areas for use by both staff members and persons in our care.


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Screening,​ Testing and Healthcare​

How many PIOC have tested positive for COVID-19?

Please refer to the Persons in our Care Dashboard for the latest COVID-19 testing and vaccination information for those in our care.

What are the protocols when there are persons in your care with positive results?

Upon confirmation of any positive case of COVID-19 in an institution, all potentially exposed staff are notified and all persons in our care that were directly exposed to the individual are quarantined, which could include being moved to a cell hall with the best means of isolation. Each institution determines the area within its facility most conducive to isolation procedures.

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Isolation separates sick people experiencing symptoms related to a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were potentially or directly exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

What is happening at the facilities where PIOC have tested positive for COVID-19?

Administrative rules are currently suspended and will remain suspended at each facility until we are able to return to full, pre-pandemic visiting levels. This suspension of administrative rules ensures limited movement of persons in our care, permitting only critical movement of individuals. Persons in our care at all facilities continue to have access to shower facilities and meals as regularly scheduled. Each site activated its Emergency Operating Procedures and completed a deep cleaning of facilities. Maintaining the safety, health, and well-being of staff and persons in our care continues to be our primary focus during this crisis. The situation at each institution is being monitored closely in an effort to return to normal operations as soon as appropriate.

What climate improvements have been implemented at facilities with limited movement due to positive cases?

We have taken several actions to support persons in our care despite functioning under modified operational plans. These have included providing two free phone calls per week, implementing video visits, increasing canteen spending limits, and providing access to additional movies, cable channels, and digital TV wherever possible.

Are you identifying at-risk persons in your care? 

We have established several precautions to help protect our most vulnerable populations. The DOC's Bureau of Health Services has developed tracking tools to identify those at risk and generate reports that are shared with healthcare staff on a regular basis for use in their isolation and quarantine plans.

What other steps has DOC taken to proactively protect the health and welfare of persons in their care?

The DOC remains committed to protecting the health and welfare of all persons in our care. The ways in which we have prepared our facilities and staff to safely and effectively manage the spread of COVID-19 in multiple ways, including:

  • Reviewing and updating existing pandemic plans to address COVID-19, including the protocols and isolation procedures if someone is exposed and/or becomes infected;

  • Regularly communicating with staff and persons in our care to provide accurate and up-to-date public health information, including basic health guidance and precautions to prevent the spread of the virus; 

  • Educating staff and persons in our care about both the virus (e.g., its transmission, symptoms, duration, etc.) and the vaccine, following guidelines consistent with DHS, and encouraging persons in our care to alert Health Services staff immediately if they experience any symptoms related to COVID-19;

  • Identifying and enhancing purchasing efforts for pandemic supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE); and

Securing contingency staffing plans and remote access to care in case of provider/staff shortages.

Is DOC issuing personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, to staff and persons in their care?

The DOC has been monitoring developments about COVID-19 by working collaboratively with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and continuously reviewing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The CDC mandates that individuals wear cloth face coverings in congregate settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

​Are persons in DOC care and DOC staff required to wear face coverings?

DOC staff working in 24/7 institutions considered congregate living facilities are required to wear a mask. This aligns with the latest guidance from the CDC which recommends both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people should “continue to wear a well-fitted mask in correctional facilities and homeless shelters." This includes staff and persons in our care. DOC will continue to follow the guidance of health experts regarding policies at our 24/7 institutions and make any changes when it is safe to do so. All persons in our care are given a minimum of three, double-ply cotton face coverings that can be laundered and re-used. 

Persons in our care must wear face coverings in common areas, but they are not required to wear them in their rooms. 

Effective June 1, face coverings and physical distancing requirements for fully vaccinated employees in other state buildings will be relaxed to reflect changing guidance from the CDC, DHS and local public health officials. Fully vaccinated people may continue to wear face coverings but will no longer be required to do so while in state facilities. ​

All unvaccinated people, both state employees and members of the public, are required to properly wear face coverings while in state facilities, regardless of the physical distance between individuals or the number of people present. This includes while in cubicles, offices, conference rooms, ​elevators, stairwells, kitchenettes, bathrooms, hallways, and while waiting to enter buildings.

Unvaccinated state employees are also required to properly wear face coverings in other enclosed, non-state buildings while conducting state business. Additionally, all state employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will follow the COVID-19 guidance of local municipalities and businesses when working on non-state property.

Do PIOC have to purchase masks?

Each person in our care is given a minimum of three, double-ply cotton face coverings that can be laundered and re-used. DOC is also providing the option of additional face coverings, beyond the three free ones, for purchase. They can be purchased by PIOC or by loved ones for PIOC.

Are DOC correctional facilities requiring staff to wear face masks? 

All DOC staff are required to wear face coverings while entering and working in DOC facilities, with the exception for when they are eating, drinking, or alone in an enclosed space.

Does a building without air conditioning alter the requirements to wear a face mask?

Guidance on the use of face masks will remain in place for every DOC state-owned or leased building, regardless of the building's indoor conditions. Employees who are unable to wear a mask are encouraged to contact Human Resources for further assistance. Reasons for an exemption to the mask policy may include a medical or mental health condition, disability, or job duties in which wearing a face covering would cause a health or safety risk.

Will staff and the persons in your care be required to wear face masks outdoors?

The mask requirement only applies to wearing a face mask indoors, in an enclosed area, or while waiting in line to enter a building. Additionally, face masks will be required outdoors when a person is not able to maintain proper social distance with others. 

What is the process for receiving an accommodation or exemption for staff unable to wear a face mask due to medical or mental health conditions or disability?

The DOC is committed to assuring equal employment opportunity for persons with disabilities. Employees may request an accommodation by completing the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form (DOC 2150) and submitting the completed form to their supervisor.


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Op​erational Changes and Modifications​​

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) has taken several action steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our state's correctional facilities, however, we are also working to resume some normal operations where we're able to do so safely.

Are persons in your care allowed visitors? 
Persons in our care will be able to resume face-to-face visitation on July 6, 2021, with safeguards in place to protect the health of persons in our care, staff, and visitors.

This plan is subject to change. If COVID-19 cases in a specific DOC facility or surrounding community begin to rise during this transition period, or if other, unforeseen circumstances arise, face-to-face visitation may be suspended. 

Please visit our public website for more information on in-person visitation: https://doc.wi.gov/Pages/OffenderInformation/AdultInstitutions/ResumingInPersonVisitation.aspx

Who will be allowed to visit?

People on approved visitors lists. Initially, up to three approved visitors will be allowed for a specific visit with a person in our care to ensure social distancing can be achieved. Relationship does not matter but at least one visitor must be an adult. 

Do I have to be vaccinated to visit someone in DOC care?

Vaccination is not required, and all visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must abide by the mask requirements.  

Where will face-to-face visitation be resuming?

Face-to-face visitation will resume at all DOC-run facilities. However, if COVID-19 cases in a specific DOC facility or surrounding community begin to rise during this transition period, face-to-face visitation may be suspended again at that facility. DOC will consider several factors, including the opinion of health experts at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, in determining if face-to-face visitation needs to be suspended at a DOC facility.

Why are you resuming face-to-face visitation?

Wisconsin is seeing a real and sustained downward trend in COVID-19 cases across the state that has been mirrored inside DOC facilities. In addition, COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to increase among persons in DOC care and the state's general population. Given these facts, DOC has decided, in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, that it is safe to resume normal operations with modifications to account for the continued threat of COVID-19.

How often will visitation be available?

Due to social distancing and other preventative measures, capacity in visitation areas has been decreased. Institutions will attempt to honor up to two face-to-face visiting periods for every person in our care each week.   

What will be different in this resumption of face-to-face visitation? What should families expect?

  • Institutions will modify visiting rooms or create new visiting spaces to ensure social distancing.
  • Capacity in visitation areas has been decreased to promote social distancing. Institutions will attempt to honor up to two face-to-face visiting periods each week. The length of each visiting period and how many visiting slots are available will be determined by each individual institution.
  • Institutions will continue to offer video visits as a supplement to face-to-face visitation, allowing persons in our care one video visit a week. Length of video visits will be determined by each individual institution.
  • Each DOC institution will develop entrance procedures for visitors, which will include a COVID-19 screening (temperature and symptoms check) by security staff.
  • Visitors will schedule their visits at least 48 hours in advance utilizing scheduling software. DOC will be providing more information on how to access and use the scheduling system to visitors, staff and persons in our care in the near future. Those without a computer or internet service can call the institution they wish to visit directly.

 Will there be special rules for face-to-face visitation?

DOC understands seeing loved ones in-person for the first time in 15 months will be an emotional experience for many. However, due to the continued threat of COVID-19, DOC is imposing the following rules when face-to-face visitation resumes on July 6:

  • Initially, up to three approved visitors will be allowed for a specific visit with a PIOC. Relationship does not matter but at least one visitor must be an adult. 
  • Brief hugs are allowed at the beginning and end of visit; kisses are not allowed.
  • Hand holding and sitting on laps is not allowed.
  • Wardens have discretion on how young children and infants can interact with PIOC.
  • Per CDC guidance related to mask wearing in correctional facilities, all visitors age two or above shall wear a mask for the duration of the visit.
  • All PIOC shall be required to wear a mask for the duration of the visit.
  • Food and/or drink are allowed, but cannot be shared amongst visitors and PIOC.
  • All chairs and tables will be sanitized between visits.
  • The children's area shall not be available as it is difficult to sanitize between usage.
  • Outdoor visiting will require the same processes/restrictions.

If there is outright refusal to comply with these rules, a supervisor will determine whether or not to end the visit.

Will adults and youth in DOC's care still be able to connect to family and friends with free phone calls and Zoom video visits?

Each week, Sunday through Saturday, all adults in our care receive two (2), free fifteen-minute phone calls. Youth in our care receive unlimited phone calls. International phone calls are not included in the available free phone calls. All other institution telephone policies and procedures still apply.

Who is eligible for Zoom video visits? 

Eligibility for video visits will be determined in accordance with Department policies and details may vary from site-to-site. Video visits are part of our overall mission to enhance communication for those in our care and their loved ones during the ongoing public health crisis. 

How are Zoom video visits scheduled? 

Persons in our care are responsible for contacting individuals they wish to visit with and provide information on how to schedule a visit. Visits are scheduled on a “first-come, first-served" basis as space is limited. Visitors must have previously completed a Visitor Questionnaire (DOC-21AA) and be on the PIOC's approved visiting list. Prior to the video visit starting, the visitor(s) will be required to show an approved form of identification. Children or minors will be allowed to visit as long as they are already on your approved visiting list. A comprehensive list of rules and procedures for video visitation were provided to staff and persons in our care at their assigned institutions. Additionally, each facility has its video visitation procedure posted on the DOC website under the specific institution

How long will each video visit last? 

Length of video visits will be determined by the individual site. Each institution will leave adequate time between visits to allow for proper cleaning of devices and to ensure connectivity.

Is there a dress code for video visits? 

Yes. Visitors' attire cannot have any of the following:

  • Exposed undergarments;
  • Clothing with revealing holes, tears, or slits;
  • Clothing or accessories with obscene or profane writing, images or pictures;
  • Gang-related clothing, headwear, shoes, logos, or insignias; or
Transparent/translucent (see-through) clothing.

Can video visits be recorded? 

No. Visitors are not permitted to record the video visit in any manner.

Can other visitors join the screen during the video visit? 

Only those scheduled to attend the visit are permitted to be on the video screen. Visitors must have previously completed a Visitor Questionnaire (DOC-21AA) and be on the PIOC's approved visiting list. Prior to the video visit starting, the visitor(s) will be required to show an approved form of identification. Children or minors will be allowed to visit as long as they are already on the approved visiting list.   

Will other DOC activities like work release be resuming, as well?

DOC is beginning the transition to normal operations, including work release, project crews, volunteer visits and religious visits, if that transition can be done in a safe manner that protects the health of persons in our care, staff, and surrounding communities. Resumption of these programs may vary by facility, and anyone with questions about these activities should contact the institution directly or email DOCGeneral@wisconsin.gov

Are persons in your care being allowed to participate in religious activities during this pandemic? If so, in what type of activities?

The DOC remained committed to addressing the diverse spiritual needs of persons in our care during the pandemic. Based on local resources and capacities, DOC facilities offered religious accommodations available, including small group religious practices when they could be done safely, congregate religious events with physical distancing, self-study materials from the chapel library or online resources, dietary accommodations and broadcasted religious programing in housing units.

Starting July 6, Wisconsin DOC religious programming will look very similar to what was offered before the pandemic. 

Is DOC releasing individuals early?

It is important to note the DOC has limited authority to unilaterally release adults in custody before their mandatory release date. The only mechanisms under which DOC has sole authority to grant an early release are Special Action Parole and Certain Earned Release. Special Action Parole releases persons sentenced for offenses committed before December 31, 1999, pursuant to § 304.02, Stats., for the purpose of relieving overcrowding. Certain Earned Release allows early release only to nonviolent inmates, as outlined in Wis. Admin. Code DOC § 302.35, who are within 12 months of release from the confinement portion of a bifurcated sentence imposed between 2009 and 2011.

Additional release mechanisms include the following:
  • Petitions for early release for certain inmates who are either elderly or suffer from an extraordinary health condition, pursuant to § 302.113(9g), Wis. Stats. Early release under this statute requires support of DOC and approval of a sentencing judge. If DOC supports early release, DOC refers the inmate's petition to the sentencing court which will hold a hearing at which the victim and District Attorney may be present. Only the sentencing judge is able to approve early release for persons who are elderly or suffer from an extraordinary health condition.
  • Parole release under extraordinary circumstances pursuant to § 304.06(1m), Wis. Stats., which is available only to certain persons sentenced for offenses committed before December 31, 1999. The decision to grant early release pursuant to this statute is made by the Parole Commission.


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Community Corrections

Are probation and parole offices for DCC open?

All DCC offices are reopening to the general public and will be returning to normal operations on July 6, 2021. We are requiring a face masks at all sites for those who are not vaccinated. Clients should contact their agent with specific questions.

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DOC Staff​

Additional frequently asked questions are available and updated regularly on the Wisconsin Division of Administration website.  

Statewide COVID-19 FAQs​

Can staff wear personalized face masks?

Face masks should be worn in accordance with the DOC's Professional Appearance Standards. Due to security concerns, a neck gaiter, which is a closed tube of fabric that can be pulled over the face, will not be permitted to be worn in any DAI correctional facilities.

Staff should ensure cloth face masks are:

  • In good repair, not ripped, faded, or frayed.
  • Appropriate in nature, meaning:
  • The face mask must in no way be offensive, or construed as offensive or inappropriate due to imagery or language. Anything known to be associated with or representing security threat groups or are vulgar, profane, or otherwise offensive shall not be worn.
Face masks cannot display imagery related to campaign/political activity

Staff can wear face masks with an American flag if the flag is not altered in any way.

Per DOC policy, articles of clothing sold by Badger State Industries (BSI), or other vendors which supply similar garments with the DOC logo, are permitted so long as the garment meets the full provisions of policy.

How do I know if I qualify for telecommuting or working remotely?

Beginning July 6, employees currently under the temporary work-from-home provision due to the pandemic will be required to return to the office. Staff interested working remotely should review the DOC Telecommuting/Work from Home policy carefully, as it outlines a number of considerations and criteria. All requests should be discussed with your supervisor. If it is determined you are eligible for telecommuting, a formal request will need to be made through the new DOC-2925 EForm.

A blanket threshold of no more than 40% remote work will be in effect for all eligible staff. In other words, staff requesting to telecommute via the DOC-2925 EForm will be expected to spend at least 60% of their time in the office. The blend of office vs. remote work will be expected to equate to 3 days in the office and 2 days remote. Alternative work patterns and other irregular schedules will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Likewise, certain classifications or work units may be provided additional remote work flexibility or may have a lower threshold in place due to the operational nature of their work duties. If this applies to you, a supervisor will be providing further information.

What should I do if I'm experiencing flu-like or respiratory symptoms?

In accordance with DHS procedures for correctional facilities, if an employee has not tested for COVID-19 but has a fever of 100⁰F or higher AND respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, etc.), the employee may not return to work until at least 3 days (i.e., 72 hours) after they no longer have a fever or signs of a fever (e.g., chills, feeling very warm, flushed appearance, or sweating) without the use of fever-reducing medicine AND 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. If the employee tests positive for COVID-19, the employee will be required to stay away from the workplace for 14 days and be symptom-free for 72 hours. If staff feel they need medical care, or experience symptoms such as a fever, cough, or trouble breathing, they should call their healthcare provider. Calling ahead before going to your doctor's office or to the emergency room will help them to prepare accordingly. Tell them your symptoms and any exposure history, and they will determine the need for testing.

I am considered to be at high-risk for serious complications if I contract COVID-19. What should I do?

Employees should consult their medical provider. If advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19, the employee should work with their local Human Resources office on next steps. 

What should I do if I think a co-worker has symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

You should discuss these types of situations with your supervisor, but should not confront the individual yourself. Remember to practice confidentiality with all matters related to a person's health. While it is imperative we remain vigilant at this time, it is also important to remember not to make unnecessary assumptions or accusations about a person's health.  

How will I know if I am getting an accurate temperature reading when my temperature is checked?

Although the average human body temperature is typically stated as 98.6⁰F, research shows that individual baseline temperatures can vary from person-to-person based on factors like body weight, age, gender, time of the day or even the weather. Employees reporting directly from outside to the screening area who register a temperature below 97⁰F will have another reading redone in 2-3 minutes once acclimated with the indoor temperature at the facility. To learn more about body temperature and how it's measured, read how the CDC defines symptoms for illnesses or check out these tips for tracking your temperature.

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Glossary​ of Terms​​

A collection of corrections related terms commonly used in our agency policies and procedures and are often ​​referenced on this website.  

Alternative to Revocation Agreement (ATR): This occurs when an individual on community supervision has been involved in violations, but the Division of Community Corrections agrees to not pursue revocation of their supervision if the person completes specific tasks and/or goals.  

Early Discharge: The ability for an individual's term of probation to be terminated early after meeting specific conditions. This is only applicable for those on probation or parole, not for those on extended supervision.  

Electronic Monitoring: Equipment that helps to monitor the whereabouts and/or activities of those on supervision. The Department of Corrections most frequently utilizes the following equipment:

  • Global Position System (GPS) provides constant information on the whereabouts of an offender.
  • Alcohol Monitor​ing is completed through the use of the Transdermal Alcohol Device (TAD), which provides a continuous measure of alcohol content based on perspiration, or through a Soberlink, which allows for testing on a set schedule. 
  • Radio Frequency (RF) indicates whether or not a person is inside their residence. 

Extended Supervision: A period of a prison sentence that is allowed to be served in the community and under the supervision of a probation/parole agent for crimes committed on or after December 31, 1999. A judge determines the original length of time of incarceration and extended supervision at sentencing. 

Hold: A common term referencing temporary incarceration pending an investigation of a potential violation of supervision or revocation of supervision. Holds are placed and lifted at the discretion of the Division of Community Corrections. 

Jail Sanction: A short term of jail imposed by the Department of Corrections in response to a violation of community supervision. 

Parole: A period of a prison sentence that is allowed to be served in the community and under the supervision of a probation/parole agent for crimes committed before December 31, 1999. The Wisconsin Parole Commission is the final authority for granting discretionary parole. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Any type of specialized clothing or equipment, such as gowns, gloves, masks, goggles and/or respirators, worn to prevent exposure to communicable diseases.

Probation: A period of supervision that is ordered by the court in response to a criminal conviction or deferred prosecution agreement. 

Revocation: A process in which the Division of Community Corrections recommends that an individual on community supervision return to jail or prison due to rule and/or criminal violations. This process involves a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge, the agent, the person on supervision and his/her attorney. 

Social Distancing: Measures intended to reduce the spread of illness by reducing direct contact between individuals.

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