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.​



​Exp​anded Testing​​​​ for Staff and Persons in our Care

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), in collaboration with the Department of Health Services (DHS) and State Emergency Operations Center (EOC), is continuing to test all persons in our care who display symptoms consistent with COVID-19. 

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

Yes. All DOC staff who work in secure facilities were required to be tested during mass testing events that included persons in our care. This was conducted in partnership with the Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin National Guard. DOC continues to test persons in our care who display symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 virus and those directly exposed.

Because testing only provides information for a given point in time and individuals with negative test results can become infected in the future, the DOC is continuing its collaboration with the Wisconsin National Guard in ongoing testing.

 Our EOC is working with the National Guard to identify which facilities to prioritize for scheduled testing. They are using the following criteria:

  • Highest number of current or previous staff/PIOC positive cases
  • Elevated level of cases in the community
  • Minimal community cases/no positive cases in the facility

When the DOC sees a spike in positive cases at an institution, our EOC works 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 staff and PIOC is also being conducted by the Wisconsin National Guard at select institutions, prioritized by the criteria listed above. Additionally, persons in our care who display symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and those directly exposed to the virus are being tested at the direction of health staff at the institutions.

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.

Why did the DOC test all PIOC and staff even if they weren't displaying symptoms? 

As has been observed in the community, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 may be asymptomatic and could then unknowingly spread COVID-19 to others. By testing all persons in our care and staff at a facility at one time, we were able to medically isolate those who had the potential to spread COVID-19 to others, regardless of their symptoms. This allowed us to better control the spread of this virus in a given facility. 

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. 

Can I find out if any staff at the facility where my loved one is located have tested positive for COVID-19? 

Yes. A breakdown by location of staff who have tested positive is available on our Employee Confirmed Cases page and is updated regularly. To comply with HIPAA privacy laws, no information about specific staff members' test results will be shared.


Facility Entrance Screening/Testing and Vaccinations​​​

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

The FAQs were first published for the 3/30/2020 implementation of passive and temperature check screening. 

The FAQs were updated to incorporate information about COVID-19 testing which first began in May 2020.  The FAQs were also updated to include reference to mandatory masks and to include updated guidance from DOA based on CDC and DHS Public Health direction related to how to manage and guide staff who are exposed or test positive.

The FAQs were updated in February 2021 to include information on vaccinations of staff.​​ Questions that have been added or revised since the original version are dated according to the date published.

General Screening/Testing & Return to Work:

1. UPDATED (03/05/2021) Are all DOC facilities screening employees prior to being allowed entrance?

All adult and juvenile correctional facilities began and continue to require employee screening prior to being admitted into the institution on March 30, 2020. The screening includes a passive screening (a series of questions), and an active screening (a temperature check). Each facility was responsible for communicating procedures to employees on their process.

Additionally, beginning in 2021, all staff assigned to the Correctional Officer Pre-Service (COPS) Training Academy or attend other congregate setting training where staff may not be able to socially distance (e.g. POSC), will undergo the passive screening and temperature checks.

Beginning in mid-May, 2020, facilities also began requiring employees to submit to COVID-19 testing. All facilities conducted initial testing and followed up with routine testing as necessary thought the summer and early fall. The DOC now tests every two weeks and will continue until no longer necessary.​

2. 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.

3. NEW (05/15/2020): 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.

4. UPDATED (03/05/2021) Who will be subject to passive screening and temperature checks?

Any employee who enters an adult or juvenile correctional facility must submit to a screening to enter 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.

5. UPDATED (03/05/2021) When and how often will employees have to submit to a screening/testing? 

​Employees will be subjected to passive screening (questionnaire) and temperature checks every day. Employees will be screened upon shift arrival at any adult or juvenile correctional facility or at the Corrections Training Center (CTC) for trainings where screening is mandatory.

Facilities also required initial COVID-19 testing beginning in mid-May and running through the summer months. Subsequent testing was conducted as needed (i.e. elevated facility or geographical infection rate, etc.). Beginning the week of November 16, 2020, employees have been tested every two weeks according to a set schedule.

6. NEW (11/12/2020): What does the COVID-19 test entail?

The current testing method involves a basic nasal swab.

7. UPDATED (03/05/2021) What if an employee refuses to submit to screening/testing?

Employees who refuse to submit to the screening/testing 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.).

8. UPDATED (03/05/2021) 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.​

9. NEW (11/12/2020): What happens if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?

The employee will be deemed “unfit for duty” and will be sent home immediately.  They will be asked to contact their health care provider for additional direction.  The DOC continues to follow federal CDC and state DHS guidance and is in communication with local health departments to ensure appropriate handling of staff with positive test results.  The below scenarios align with that guidance.

Isolate when positive for COVID-19 with or without symptoms.  See scenarios below for return-to-work timelines:

Positive Employee – With Symptoms

A positive employee with symptoms will stay home until all the following apply:

  • They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  • Their other symptoms have improved
  • It has been at least 10 days since their first symptom onset

Positive Employee – No Symptoms

  • A positive employee with no symptoms shall stay home and monitor for symptoms.  If the employee continues to have no symptoms, ​they can return 10 days after they were tested.​
If during the 10 days the employee becomes symptomatic, then they must continue to stay home for at least 10 more days from the date of the symptom onset and meet all the following before returning to work:

  • ​They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  • Their other symptoms have improved
  • It has been at least 10 days since their first symptom onset​

10. 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.

11. UPDATED (02/15/2021) 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.​

12. UPDATED (11/12/2020) When can an employee with symptoms, but who has not been tested, return to work?

It is recommend that employees with symptoms be tested, however any employee with symptoms shall stay home until all the following apply:

  • They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  • Their other symptoms have improved
  • It has been at least 10 days since their first symptom onset​

If the employee is tested, they shall stay home until test results return.  Return to work dates will depend on whether the test was positive or negative.  

These return to work thresholds apply unless the employee’s health provider (or the local public health department) determines a return to work date that is different than referenced above based on their medical assessment. The DOC will rely on the medical guidance and verification. 

13. 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.

14. If an employee has to wait for a ride to leave work, how will the Department make sure social distancing practices are met?

Space will be provided so employees can continue to be at least 6 feet away from others.

15. What if an employee takes his or her temperature at home and doesn’t have a fever?

We will rely on the results of the reading conducted at the time of the check under the Department of Corrections authorized procedures.

16. UPDATED (02/15/2021) Will employees be required to use their own leave time if sent home due to a failed screening or a positive COVID-19 test?

​The federal emergency paid sick leave expired 12/31/2020. Therefore, 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.​

17. UPDATED (02/15/2021) What if an employee has been in close contact with someone that tested positive for COVID-19?

According to the revised CDC guidance, close contact means:

  • Employee was within 6 feet of a person who tests positive for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
  • Employee provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • Employee had direct physical contact with the person (touched or hugged them)
  • Employee shared eating or drinking utensils
  • COVID positive person sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on employee
Procedures for Employees in Classifications with Staffing Shortages:

CDC's critical infrastructure guidance 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.​

Procedures for Employees in Classifications without Staffing Shortages:
Employee must stay home for the full 14 days after last contact with person and no symptoms arise. Two options to reduce quarantine are available as follows:

  1. Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing, if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. This option results in about a 1% chance of transmission.
  2. Quarantine can end after Day 7 if the result of a diagnostic (antigen or PCR) COVID-19 test is negative and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring. The test specimen may be collected and tested within 8 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation, but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7. A pending test result on Day 7 is not sufficient to end quarantine early. This option results in about a 5% chance of transmission

Employee must continue to monitor for symptoms for the full 14 days. If symptoms develop following the end of quarantine, employee is advised to immediately isolate, contact their health care provider, and get tested.

If symptoms appear, stay home until all of the following apply:

  1. They have been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications)
  2. Their other symptoms have improved
  3. It has been at least 10 days since their first symptom onset​
Find additional information on COVID-19 test types to learn more. 
NOTE: Employees fully vaccinated should refer to question #34.

18. NEW (07/28/2020):  What if an employee has been exposed but was not in close contact with someone?

If employee was in contact, but not close contact (see definition of close contact in Q17) with someone who is positive (e.g. low risk), they do not need to take preventive measures, e.g. quarantine for 14 days; however, employees should closely monitor for symptoms for 14 days and immediately isolate and get a test if any symptoms develop.

19. NEW (07/28/2020) If an employee is issued a mask, how long is the employee expected to wear it?

Effective 07/13/2020 all state employees are required to wear masks while in state office buildings.  Please see the FAQs related to masks in the COVID-19 resource area on myDOC.

If the mask requirement is changed and masks become discretionary, an exposed employee will be required to wear a mask for 14 days from the date of exposure.  If there is a shortage of masks, the employee may be required to use the same mask up to 4 days.

Guidance Related to Scheduling/Conducting COVID-19 Testing: 

The Department of Corrections has been testing facility staff since the beginning of May.   The Department conducted mandatory initial testing for all employees between May 12 and July 9, 2020.  After the initial testing was complete, routine or outbreak testing was scheduled as needed.  

Beginning the week of November 16, 2020, the Department will phase in a plan to test employees every two weeks.   This is in accordance with the recommendation of DHS to test all staff of congregate care facilities every other week. This testing will be mandatory and will remain in effect until concerns about the pandemic subside.  

Guidance Related to Sched​​uling/Conducting COVID-19 Testing:

​The Department of Corrections has been testing facility staff since the beginning of May. The Department conducted mandatory initial testing for all employees between May 12 and July 9, 2020. After the initial testing was complete, routine or outbreak testing was scheduled as needed. 

Beginning the week of November 16, 2020, the Department phased in a plan to test employees every two weeks. This is in accordance with the recommendation of DHS to test all staff of congregate care facilities every other week. This testing will be mandatory and will remain in effect until concerns about the pandemic subside.​

20. UPDATED (06/25/2020):  If an employee is not at work when testing is scheduled, what will happen?

Insofar as possible, the DOC will coordinate testing days to ensure employees at the location can be tested. While every effort will be made to test employees on their incoming shifts, employees may be asked to report on an off-shift, regular day off or approved leave day in order to ensure as many employees as possible are tested.

In the event an employee is missed, the DOC will work with that employee on an alternate plan which could include being directed to another testing site.

21. NEW (06/25/2020):  If an employee isn’t able to get in to an alternate site right away, will the employee be deemed unfit?

No.  Scheduling of alternate sites may be outside of an employee’s control.   The employee will be allowed to return to work while the employer continues to work through scheduling at an alternate testing site.​

22. NEW (05/15/2020):  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.

23. NEW (05/15/2020):  How long does it take for test results to be available?

Results typically take approximately 48 hours but variations to this timeline may occur.  Notifications to staff may take up to 5 days.

24. NEW (05/15/2020):  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.

25. UPDATED (11/12/2020): 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.​

Vaccine Inform​ation:​

26. NEW (02/15/2021): 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.

27. NEW (02/15/2021): Who will be offered the vaccine at the DOC?

The DOC does not determine who is eligible for the vaccine. Instead, the DOC follows the direction and guidance from the CDC and WI DHS regarding which employees are eligible. Healthcare workers at DOC have already begun receiving the vaccine, and other correctional workers are eligible at this time. The latest information on eligible populations can be found on the DHS website. The DOC created an internal vaccine task force which is currently working on a plan for roll-out when the vaccine supplies are available.

28. NEW (02/15/2021): Who will administer my vaccine, and will I receive the vaccine on-site?

The DOC and its vaccine taskforce are currently working on a plan for roll-out when vaccine supplies are available. The plan may include utilizing trained professionals at the local public health facility, contracting with a pharmacy or health care company or utilizing our own Bureau of Health Services staff.

The DOC will attempt to offer the vaccine on-site if possible similar to the procedures with healthcare employees, however, location will depend largely on which method of administering the vaccine is available at the various sites. Employees will receive instructions from their site leadership on vaccine roll-out as supplies and information become available.

29. NEW (02/15/2021): What version of the vaccine will I receive?

DOC employees will receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine depending upon available supplies. If other vaccines become available in the future, the DOC will work closely with WI DHS and local public health to determine if another type of vaccine will be administered.

30. NEW (02/15/2021): Will I be paid for my time getting the vaccine?

This depends entirely on vaccine availability and method for distribution. The vaccine is not mandatory, so the DOC will treat the time similar to how flu clinics or other voluntary vaccinations are treated. If the DOC coordinates the administration of the vaccine either on-site or through working with a local partner, the DOC will make efforts to release eligible employees to get vaccinated during their shift where possible. Vaccinations occurring off-shift will be on the employee’s own time. If an employee wishes to coordinate their own vaccine through a local health care provider, for example, leave requests will be treated in accordance with policy.

31. NEW (02/15/2021): Will I receive mileage or other expenses associated with the vaccination?

No. While the DOC encourages employees to be vaccinated, this is not a mandated work activity, therefore employees will be responsible for any expenses incurred.

32. NEW (02/15/2021): 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.

33. NEW (02/15/2021): 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.

34. UPDATED (03/25/2021): Will I be required to quarantine if I’m vaccinated and have close contact with someone who tests positive? 

No. A vaccinated employee who is exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine provided they meet all the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., exposure occurs ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure​

​All people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after the last date of exposure, and should be evaluated clinically and get tested if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19. If vaccinated people do develop symptoms, they should be isolated pending the results of testing, in accordance with current recommendations.

Exceptions to the new quarantine recommendation exist for patients receiving inpatient care in a healthcare setting, and residents of long-term care facilities. Patients and residents in these settings should continue to follow prior guidance requiring quarantine for 14 days after the date of last exposure. This exception is due to the higher risk of severe illness and death among patients in these settings.

35. NEW (02/15/2021): Will I be required to tell the DOC if I’ve been vaccinated?

In order to be vaccinated on-site, employees must consent to receive the vaccination, so the DOC will already have information for those employees. For off-site vaccinations, the EEOC has indicated that employers asking or requiring an employee to show proof of receipt of a COVID- vaccination does not qualify as a disability-related inquiry. Since the vaccine is not mandatory, the DOC is still determining how or if it will track vaccination percentage. Since the DOC is only interested in the numbers as opposed to identifying employees, the tracking may occur utilizing a survey method.

36. NEW (01/14/2021): If I get vaccinated, do I have to continue to be tested?

Yes, because the vaccination process is a two shot regimen over a 3-4 week period, with an additional 2 weeks to develop anti-bodies. The vaccination process is at least a six week process. Once fully vaccinated, the vaccine is still only 95% effective and there is a chance you could be asymptomatic and spread it to co-workers and PIOC. A vaccine better prepares your body to fight the infection, but it does not prevent the infection - you just successfully defeat it faster and you may never ‘feel’ you had it.​

Review the DOC Facility Entrance Screening/Testing & Vaccination FAQs​​​ to learn more. (Revised 03/25/2021​)


Cleaning and Sanitation

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) is committed to robust sanitation protocols throughout its facilities and transportation vehicles, and has ramped up existing cleaning policies to combat the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.​

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.


Screening, Testing and Healthcare

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) is responding with all available resources to protect the health and safety of those living and working in our facilities. We are working hand-in-hand with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to closely monitor developments and new information related to this rapidly evolving situation.

What are the protocols when staff test?

The DOC follows quarantine recommendations set forth by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Upon notice of confirmed cases, employees who test positive are directed to self-quarantine at home. Any employees determined to have had direct or prolonged close contact with the individual testing positive for COVID-19 are notified and directed to quarantine following DHS and CDC guidelines. Additionally, DOC conducts thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the sites with positive results.

Please visit our page for the latest information and breakdown by location for all Employee Confirmed Cases.

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 case 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?

Upon notice of a confirmed COVID-19 case, administrative rules are suspended at that particular facility, pursuant to Wisconsin Administrative Code Section 306.22. 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.

Are any DOC facilities on lockdown?

Facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have temporarily suspended administrative rules. This suspension of administrative rules ensures limited movement of persons in our care, permitting only critical movement of individuals. While some activities and programming have been canceled, others have been modified to align with current social distancing recommendations. Prior to any confirmed cases, institutions had already begun limiting movement to allow for social distancing as much as possible. Modified procedures include the elimination of large group dining, limiting large group congregation and limiting recreation to groups of 10 or fewer. 

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 include 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 persons in your care receiving medical care?

We have medical professionals on-site closely monitoring the health of persons in our care. Anyone exhibiting symptoms related to influenza or COVID-19 is seen by healthcare staff, who will evaluate the individual and make any referral for diagnostic testing. Ill patients are medically isolated from the rest of the population as space allows. Similarly, exposed but asymptomatic individuals are quarantined away from our most vulnerable patients. Medical staff have identified vulnerable people and are paying close attention to their needs. Medical co-pays have been temporarily suspended to allow anyone experiencing signs of illness to seek medical attention. All non-urgent visits offsite have been cancelled. If a person needs a more advanced level of care, they are transported to local a hospital/medical center.

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.

Can a wellness check be completed for persons in your care at any of the facilities? 

Given the public health emergency, the DOC is receiving an overwhelming number of requests for wellness checks. Our healthcare staff is working around the clock to monitor and care for all persons in our care, including those that are deemed to be high-risk due to pre-existing conditions, while safely managing COVID-19. As a result, we are unable to facilitate wellness checks via our healthcare staff or respond to requests for medical updates at this time; however, DOC staff continue to monitor the health and safety of all persons in our care. As we continue to work through managing COVID-19, we will have security staff follow-up with the person in our care whose loved one is reaching out and encourage them to contact their loved ones to notify them of their status. Persons in our care have access to e-mail messaging, telephone, video visitation, and traditional correspondence via USPS. We have also offered persons in our care two, free 15-minute phone calls per week to assist in such communication. ​

Are persons in your care still able to receive canteen orders? 

DOC has increased the weekly and bi-weekly canteen spending limits for persons in our care. Weekly spending limits increased from $42.00 to $50.00 and bi-weekly spending limits increased from $84.00 to $100.00. The change in spending limits does not change the spending limits placed on specific facilities or housing units.

Are facilities equipped with adequate resources? Are deliveries of food and cleaning supplies still being accepted?

We are prepared with essential food and sanitation supplies and deliveries continue as scheduled. The DOC is monitoring supply levels continually. Additionally, we are working with state and federal partners to communicate any needs we may have, especially in the areas of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We have also enacted an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) which works with the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to closely monitor any resource shortages.

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 the virus (e.g., its transmission, symptoms, duration, etc.) 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 has encouraged individuals to wear cloth face coverings in settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

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

All DOC staff are required to wear face coverings when entering or inside DOC facilities.  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.  

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 working to provide the option of additional face coverings, beyond the three free ones, for purchase. They could be purchased by PIOC or by loved ones for PIOC. There would be a minimum of seven face coverings for each 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.​


Operational 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. These preemptive and precautionary measures are anchored in a foundation of public health and safety considerations. 

What is the DOC doing to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 within its facilities?

In an effort to minimize the overall impact of COVID-19 and maintain a safe environment for all, we are following numerous protocols to safely and effectively manage the spread. Some of the protocols include:

  • Suspension of non-professional and non-essential visitation, including volunteers and contractors;
  • Suspension of volunteer and contracted activities, public tours and events;
  • Suspension of work release for persons in our care in the private sector;
  • Suspension of all contracted programming and most internal programming; (some internal programming has been resumed)
  • Suspension of elective and non-essential staff travel and training

Are persons in your care still allowed visitors? 

The DOC temporarily suspended visitation at all correctional facilities to minimize the risk of exposing staff, persons in our care and the public to COVID-19. The restriction on visitation includes outside volunteers, contractors and tours. All DOC facilities are instead offering video visitation between persons in our care and people on their approved visitor list. All professional and legal visits will continue at this time with enhanced accommodations for phone calls and video conferences, or non-contact visits, whenever possible. This suspension will remain in place until spread of COVID-19 within the community is more manageable. 

When will the visitation suspension be lifted? 

We are working with local health officials and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to determine criteria that indicates it is safe to resume in-person visitation.

How can family and friends maintain contact with their loved ones while visitation is suspended? 

Until in-person visitation resumes, 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.

DOC has also installed equipment to facilitate video visitation at all institutions. All persons in our care are eligible to participate, and individual eligibility will be determined in accordance with department policy.

We continue to explore additional methods of communication to help families stay connected during this time.

Which facilities are offering video visits? 

All DOC facilities are offering video visitation to persons in our care and people on their approved visitor list. Visit the individual institution's web page to find information on scheduling a video visit. 

Who is eligible for 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. 

What platform will video visits take place on? 

Video visits will be conducted using ZOOM Cloud Meeting. It is suggested that visitors download the ZOOM Cloud Meeting app prior to the visit to ensure accessibility. 

How can a visitor access ZOOM? 

The ZOOM Cloud Meeting app can be downloaded on a desktop computer, laptop, cell phone, or tablet. 

How are 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.

What are visiting hours? 

Please refer to the individual institution for their visiting hours.

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.   

Are visits allowed at my local county jail?

The DOC does not operate or have jurisdiction over county jails. Please contact your local county or sheriff's office directly for specific information on county jails.

I heard all admissions to state prisons and juvenile facilities are suspended. Is this true? How are inter-facility and internal transfers being affected? 

On March 23, 2020, Governor Evers issued Emergency Order #9, which instituted a moratorium on admissions to state prisons and juvenile facilities.  The moratorium has since expired. Intakes from county jails have resumed, with modifications to limit the risk of potential exposure and spread of COVID-19 to the staff and the persons in our care. 

All people transferred from county jails to DOC facilities will be quarantined for 14 days and tested before movement into general population.  Internal transfers will also take additional precautions, with receiving sites quarantining transfers for 14 days and testing prior to movement into general population.

What is the status of work release programs? 

Work release placements for persons in our care in the private sector are temporarily suspended. Please contact individual work release sites for additional details related to this suspension. The DOC is working with the Department of Health Services to determine criteria that will determine when it is safe to resume work release.

What is the status of volunteer programs? 

Volunteer visits and activities at all correctional facilities are temporarily suspended until further notice. All public tours and events have been postponed. 

What is the status of contracted and internal programming? 

Programing was temporarily suspended at all correctional facilities earlier this year. Some programming has resumed, with decisions on resumption made on a case-by-case basis at each facility.

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

The DOC remains committed to addressing diverse spiritual needs of persons in our care while also maintaining pandemic safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our facilities.  Religious accommodations and services are still available to individuals in facilities with modified inmate movement, those isolated for medical treatment or persons in our care who elect to self-quarantine. Based upon local resources and capacities, facilities may have several religious accommodations available, including:

  • Chaplains remain on duty to assist persons in our care of all faiths with religious needs.
  • DOC Chaplains and staff continue to facilitate small-group (10 or fewer) religious programming when they are able to do so safely.
  • Social distancing is maintained during congregate religious events and safety protocols prohibit physical contact (e.g. hand-shaking, greetings, passing peace, sacraments, communion, pipe, anointing).
  • Chaplains may provide self-study materials from the chapel library, online resources and volunteers.  
  • Persons in our care can purchase approved personal religious property items and individuals with electronic tablets may also have religious publications and content available for personal use through kiosk downloads.
  • Individuals approved for religious dietary accommodations continue to receive menus comporting with prohibition of certain foods.
  • Facilities with internal television networks may broadcast a range of religious programming for viewing within housing units.
  • Chaplains may provide individual pastoral care to persons facing spiritual crises.
  • To encourage self-care and spiritual growth at this stressful time, Chaplains proactively work with facility leadership to share secular/non-denominational information (e.g. mindfulness meditation, emotional self-regulation, uplifting stories, etc.) among persons in our care, as well as staff members providing direct services.

Although public entry into facilities is restricted to prevent the spread of COVID-19, other types of community support are welcomed. In particular, facilities can benefit from donations or temporary loan of religious publications and DVDs. Please contact the Chaplains or program supervisors at the local facility if you are interested in making this type of resource available. Additionally, you can view DOC's religious policies for reference.

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.

What is the status of the Earned Release Program and the Challenge Incarceration Program?

The DOC is continuing the Earned Release Program and the Challenge Incarceration Program during the pandemic. We intend to increase capacity in the Earned Release Program by enrolling people at medium security facilities who are eligible per their Judgement of Conviction. Individuals will have their start date adjusted to begin the program earlier and subsequently released earlier. In cooperation with the Parole Commission, DOC is accommodating parole meetings through video and phone. 



Community Corrections

In line with public health guidance and acting within statutory authority, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) is following existing policy and release mechanisms to promote social distancing while maintaining our obligations to support public safety. 

Have any changes been made in the Division of Community Corrections (DCC) to decrease the number of individuals incarcerated?

The DCC continues to explore all appropriate actions to decrease the numbers of individuals incarcerated while also maintaining community safety through the effective monitoring of individuals on DCC supervision. The DCC has the authority to hold a person in custody at a county jail pending the outcome of a violation investigation and/or revocation proceeding. This is often referred to as a DCC hold. The DOC has worked to reduce the number of individuals on holds statewide, and Alternative to Revocation (ATR) programming at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) have been discontinued. Those individuals who were involved in ATR programming at MSDF were released to complete training in the community. DCC staff continue to balance prioritizing public health during this time with providing the necessary supervision and monitoring for community safety.

Will individuals on probation, parole or extended supervision still need to come into the office for scheduled contact visits with their agent? 

Communication is vital between individuals on supervision and their agents to avoid any complications or confusion with supervision rules and requirements. Individuals should assume all scheduled appointments are still occurring, although some appointments may utilize video meetings using FaceTime or Google Duo type applications rather than in-person meetings. Clients will be contacted by their agent directly if there are any changes to the standard reporting process. Clients should not assume there have been any changes to their regular reporting requirements unless told otherwise directly by their agent. Offices are closed to the general public, but remain open for scheduled meetings between agents and clients. At times, agents may be working remotely, but will continue to be available by phone and email. There have been many accommodations made to utilize other methods of communication for meetings whenever possible, but not all contacts will be able to be accommodated remotely. Clients should contact their agent for more information. 

Will probation and parole offices for the DCC remain open?

Offices are currently closed to the general public, but they will continue to be staffed to accommodate situations that require in-person meetings, service to electronic monitoring equipment, revocation hearings, and other appointments. Attorneys will also have the ability to review client files by prescheduling meeting times. Clients should contact their agent with specific questions.

Will you continue to release individuals scheduled to be paroled or discharged?

Yes. The DOC will continue to release persons in our care according to their individual sentencing guidelines. The parole board also continues to operate and assess eligible candidates for release.

Are individuals still allowed to be picked up from facilities on their scheduled release dates?

Persons in our care who are released to the community may be picked up from the facility at the point of release. The DOC continues to strongly encourage the use of social distancing practices, even as individuals are released to the community. At this time, DOC is not allowing any items (including clothing) to be delivered to the institutions from family members and/or friends.

How are parole hearings being handled in each of the facilities? Is the Parole Board still holding public hearings?

The Parole Commission continues to conduct parole hearings in the institutions. Many of these hearings are being conducted through videoconferencing, however some are still being held in-person utilizing appropriate social distancing practices.

What changes have been made to the revocation process in response to COVID-19?

Revocation hearings are limited to remote hearings only. If a revocation hearing cannot be conducted through videoconferencing or telephone, the hearing will be postponed. All parties, agents, attorneys, clients, Administrative Law Judges and witnesses must have access to participate remotely for the hearing to proceed. If a participant or witness is unable to participate remotely, the hearing will be postponed. Probation and Parole agents are working with the Division of Hearings and Appeals (DHA) and Defense Attorneys to determine remote access for all participants.     

How is DOC assisting those releasing from custody to the community with continuity of care for their medical and mental health needs? 

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, those in our care may find it difficult to secure community appointments for medical and mental health care after release from a DOC facility. In an effort to provide greater continuity of medication supply, DOC is now issuing a 30-day in-hand supply of medication to inmates upon release rather than the 14-day supply previously supplied. Additionally, when prescribers issue a 30-day, hard-copy prescription, a 30-day refill will be included for an additional 60 days of medication. This will provide a total of 90 days of authorized medication upon release for most individuals. The medical provider will work with the prescriber to ensure these amounts are appropriate on an individual basis.

How is DOC ensuring those releasing from custody to the community have access to healthcare? 

A large majority of individuals preparing to release to the community will be eligible for the State of Wisconsin Medicaid program (i.e., BadgerCare Plus). This program can provide no-cost or low-cost access to medications or medical supplies for chronic conditions, and can cover COVID-19 tests and treatments, including doctor visits, lab tests, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, telehealth visits, and more. The DOC has prepared a COVID-19 Health Insurance Guide document that outlines how to obtain health insurance and pay for medical care in the community. The DOC already has an established process for persons in our care to apply for Medicaid prior to their release, and individuals have been encouraged to use their facility procedure and work with staff to apply.


Badger Bounce Back Plan

The following FAQs related to the Department of Administration (DOA) updates to Phase II of the State Government Badger Bounce Back Plan will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, in accordance with all applicable state guidance and directives.

What updates were made to Phase II of the State Government Badger Bounce Back Plan, and how does this impact the Department of Corrections (DOC)?
There were two updates made to Phase II of the State Government Badger Bounce Back Plan by the Department of Administration:
  1. All DOC state office buildings are closed to the public until further notice
  2. ​All state employees, including all DOC staff, are required to wear face coverings at all times while in state buildings, except while eating, drinking, or working alone in an enclosed space.

Will staff be required to wear face masks at all times?

All State of Wisconsin employees are required to wear face coverings at all times in state facilities. However, they may be removed when eating, drinking, communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing and communication cannot be achieved through other means, or to confirm identity, if requested. If an employee is alone in an office, with their door closed, they do not need to wear a face covering.

Will face masks be provided to staff?

The DOC will have a supply of appropriate face masks available for employees and members of the public who may have to enter a state building. Employees are also permitted to wear their own clean, work-appropriate face masks.

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.

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.

Are the persons in your care in the Division of Adult Institutions (DAI) also required to wear face masks?

In accordance with the Department of Health Services and CDC guidance, all persons in our care (PIOC) will be required to wear face masks as required as a part of their job duties, in common areas, and when they are unable to maintain proper social distance with others, or as otherwise required for certain institution positions. As an exception to the above, PIOC are not required to wear face masks in their cells, barracks, or dormitories, or while eating, drinking or showering.

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. 

Will individuals such as landlords, law enforcement officers, cleaning crews, and contractors also be required to wear a mask when they enter a DOC state-owned or leased site?

Any person entering a DOC state-owned or leased building will be required to wear a face mask at all times unless they have a medical, mental health condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask.


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.

Is DOC hiring new staff during this public health emergency?

The State of Wisconsin has implemented a hiring freeze for non-essential positions. However, we will continue to recruit for essential positions, such as security and healthcare positions, where staffing shortages may become a concern. We are currently seeking a wide variety of workers for immediate hire to address the essential needs of our agency during the pandemic.  

Essential positions include:

  • Registered Nurses
  • Correctional Officers
  • Facilities Maintenance
  • Probation and Parole Agents
  • Psychologists
  • Social Workers
  • Teachers
  • Power Plant Operators

Additional details about available job opportunities can be found on the COVID-19 Essential Hiring website. For a full listing of Department of Corrections positions, visit us at Wisc.Jobs. If you have questions about other recruitments, please contact your local human resources office. 

Is DOC experiencing any staffing shortages as a result of COVID-19? If the virus spread throughout the agency, what contingency plans are in place to ensure things keep running?

Staffing throughout the agency remains stable at this time. We continue to monitor staffing patterns on a daily basis and plan for various contingencies. The DOC has prepared continuity of operations plans for maintaining critical functions of the Department. We have activated the Department Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate resources agency-wide and share internal information on planning progress, staffing numbers, and medical surveillance. Additionally, our response is supported by the Governor's Office, Department of Military Affairs, Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Emergency Management, and several other state and federal agencies.

What do the “Safer at Home" and State Government Badger Bounce Back Plans mean for me?

The Governor's Safer at Home Order directed all non-essential businesses to close and prohibited all non-essential travel in the state, with some exceptions as defined in the order. At that time, all non-essential state employees were directed to work from home. The DOC has established protocols that allow staff at the Central Office and within the divisions to telework as much as possible. As outlined in Section 12, essential government functions were required to continue and corrections personnel were categorically exempt from the order. While the Safer at Home order is no longer in effect, the State of Wisconsin is following the State Government Badger Bounce Back plan for a phased return to more normal operations. If you have questions specific to your classification, please contact your supervisor.

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

Telecommuting or working remotely is a work flexibility arrangement in which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities outlined in their position description from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work during approved worktimes. Due to the critical nature of our operations, many positions will not have the ability to telecommute. If you have specific questions, please contact your supervisor.

Can I work remotely if I have flu-like symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19?

If the nature of your work allows for remote completion, your healthcare provider indicates working remotely is possible despite your symptoms, and you are approved to do so by your supervisor, you may work remotely.

What if I do not want to work remotely? Can I still work at my office?

Due to the State Government Badger Bounce Back plan, as well as the precautions put in place by our Department to minimize the risk of exposing staff and those in our care to COVID-19, there may be times when you will be directed to work remotely without the option to return to your regular work location. Please discuss any questions or concerns you may have directly with your supervisor.

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.


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 Monitoring 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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