Response Efforts

R​esponse Efforts​

The following timeline highlights the various ways the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) worked to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and help keep our staff, those in our care and our communities safer.​​​


​AUGUST 2021

August 23

Updated Face Coverings Guidance for State Employees: Guidance changed to again require state employees and contractor staff, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when inside state facilities or performing state duties indoors. Guidance updated to recommend vaccinated members of the public wear face masks when inside state facilities. Requirements for unvaccinated people remains unchanged. See DOA's Frequently Asked Questions & Answers for Wisconsin State Employees​ to learn more.

​JU​LY 2021

July ​​15

Vaccination During Visitation: DOC begins offering free COVID-19 vaccinations to those visiting loved ones in-person at six correctional facilities: Fox Lake Correctional Institution, Green Bay Correctional Institution, Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution, Racine Youthful Offender Correctional Facility, Stanley Correctional Institution and Taycheedah Correctional Institution.​

July ​​6

In-Person Visitation Resumes: In consultation with Wisconsin Department of Health Services, DOC has determined it is safe for the state's correctional facilities to begin the transition back to normal activities, including in-person visitation with the proper precautions.

Return to Normal Operations: DOC begins 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. All DCC offices reopen to the general public on July 6.

Ju​​l​​​​​y 1

Zero Active PIOC Cases: The number of active COVID-19 cases amongst persons in our care reaches zero across all DAI and DJC facilities.

JU​N​E 2021

June 1

Face Coverings and Physical Distancing Requirements Relaxed for Vaccinated Staff: Effective June 1, face coverings and physical distancing requirements for fully vaccinated employees were relaxed to reflect changing guidance from CDC, DHS and local public health officials. Fully vaccinated staff may continue to wear face coverings but will no longer be required to do so in state facilities. Requirements for those not fully vaccinated remain unchanged. Masking guidance for DOC staff working in 24/7 institutions considered congregate living facilities has not changed. 

MAY 2021

May 1

On-Site Staffing Increases: As of May 1, maximum occupancy increased to 25% at office buildings, providing DOC with parameters for moving closer to normal operations.

APRIL 2021

April 8

PIOC Dashboard Update: The PIOC Dashboard now includes a COVID-19 Vaccines tab that provides the sum of PIOC who have received at least one dose of a vaccine, as well as vaccination numbers for PIOC at each institution (updated every Monday). 

April 5

General Office Space Re-opens at 10% of Pre-pandemic Levels: DOA-managed facilities reopened, with general office space occupancy limited to 10% of pre-pandemic levels and appropriate COVID-19 mitigation measures enforced. DOC's Central Office location also reopened to the public.

April 1

PIOC Dashboard Update: The COVID-19 Vaccinations tab on the PIOC Dashboard was updated to include the number of vaccine doses administered by facility. Vaccine Doses Administered includes all doses of a COVID-19 vaccine administered by the DOC to PIOC and youth, including the first and second doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

MARCH 2021

March 1

Vaccination Eligibility Expanded: All staff and residents of congregate living facilities became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, however, supply of the vaccine remained limited. 


Week of February 1

Vaccination Rollout Plan Developed: DOC began vaccination for eligible populations among staff and persons in our care, starting with frontline Healthcare workers.

Vaccination Eligibility Expanded: In addition to continuing vaccination in health care staff, vaccinations began for correctional staff as well as for PIOC age 65 or older. 


Week of January 25

PIOC Dashboard Update: The Persons in our Care (POIC) Testing Dashboard was updated to report the number of deaths related to COVID-19 among persons in our care by location. 

January 11

Vaccination Begins: DOC healthcare staff started receiving COVID-19 vaccinations as part of the 1A priority group. 191 staff members received vaccinations within the first three days vaccinations were available.


November 23

PIOC Cases: Active cases amongst persons in our care peaked at 2,294 active cases.

November 16

Increased Staff Testing: Accelerated Labs started administering tests to institution staff, allowing DOC to increase staff testing frequency to once every two weeks.

November 9

Midwestern Cases: DOC adds COVID-19 Cases by Midwestern States data to the public website.


October 30

PIOC Dashboard Update: A death tally was added to the Persons in our Care Dashboard.​


September 24

Video Visitation Update: PIOC completed more than 7,000 video visits across more than 20 institutions.


August 18

Testing Update: A second round of comprehensive testing at Green Bay Correctional Institution begins.

JULY 2020

July 20

Testing Update: Comprehensive testing at DOC institutions is complete. Data indicates there are 9 active cases amongst person in our care with a 1.2% percentage of positive test rate.

JUNE 2020

June 22

Mass Testing Update: COVID-19 testing is more than halfway complete at DOC institutions. Updated numbers show a vast majority of those diagnosed with COVID-19 have recovered.

June 1

Admissions/Transfers Resume: Transfers from state contracted county jails resumed on a measured basis as a result of the expiration of the Governor’s Emergency Order #9.

PIOC Releasing: All persons in our care releasing into the community began testing for COVID-19 prior to their release.

Video Visits: Video visitations at institutions began to connect persons in our care to family and friends. Racine Youthful Offender Correctional Facility (RYOCF), Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI), and Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI) were the first sites to launch video visitation.

MAY 2020

May 29

​Testing Update: Mass testing of staff and persons in our care at Waupun Correctional Institution is complete.

May 18

New Personal Care Package Program: A Personal Care Package program was implemented for persons in our care. This program allows family and friends to purchase approved personal care items for their loved ones at Wisconsin correctional facilities on a quarterly basis directly from Union Supply Group.

May 15

Visitation Update: While the Safer at Home Order is no longer in effect, the DOC will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and DHS to restrict all non-essential visitation at state correctional institutions.

May 11

Mask Mandate: All institution staff and persons in our care have received three cloth face masks. Additionally, each institution provided a minimum of four ear loop masks for persons in our care. Institutions begin to mandate masks for persons in our care and staff. Green Bay Correctional Institution was the first to do so.

Mass Testing: The National Guard began to mass test persons in our care and staff at institutions. We continue to work with the National Guard to mass test at sites.​

APRIL 2020

April 20

Expansion of Communication Methods: Each person in our care will receive a free pre-embossed stamped envelope on a bi-weekly basis. Persons in our care with an Assessment & Evaluation (A&E) reception status will receive two pre-embossed stamped envelopes on a bi-weekly basis. 

Effective April 26, all persons in our care with an active Kiosk/Corrlinks account will receive a $.50 credit on their account on a weekly basis. This allows persons in our care to send up to 5 free messages to loved ones per week, for a total of 20 free messages each month.

April 15

Distribution of Face Coverings: In order to take precautions and minimize the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19 in DOC correctional facilities, the DOC begins issuing four (4) disposable ear loop masks through canteen for all persons in our care.

April 14

COVID-19 Hotline: A public support hotline for questions related to COVID-19 is established and can be reached by members of the public Monday through Friday from 7:45am–4:30pm at (608) 240-5700. 

April 6

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidance: All DAI staff have been permitted and encouraged to bring and wear cloth face masks or disposable ear loop masks in the workplace.

MARCH 2020

March 30

Medical Screenings: All individuals entering adult or juvenile correctional facilities are subject to a medical screening.

March 27

Revocation: Revocation hearings are limited to remote hearings only.

March 23

Suspension of Admissions/Internal Transfers: All admissions to the state prisons and juvenile facilities operated by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) are suspended, with exceptions for some essential transfers. 

March 19

Suspension of Transfers from Contracted County Jail Beds: All transfers from state contracted county jail beds have been suspended until further notice for everyone's safety. This applies to all individuals sentenced to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Division of Adult Institutions, but are currently housed in a contracted county jail bed. 

Canteen Policy: DAI made two notable changes to the Inmate Canteen Policy to increase the weekly and bi-weekly spending limits and address the permitted refunds available to those in our care.

March 17

Suspension of Programming: All contracted programming and most internal programming is suspended in our correctional facilities. We have adjusted necessary programming like the Earned Release Program to align with social distancing recommendations.

March 16

Emergency Operation Center: The Department of Corrections’ Emergency Operation Center is fully activated.

Suspension of Work Release: Work release placements for persons in our care in the private sector are temporarily suspended, with minimal exceptions.

Free Phone Calls: DOC partnered with CenturyLink to expand methods of communication to use during temporary suspension of visits. Effective immediately, in accordance with institution policies and procedures, the DOC is providing two (2) free fifteen-minute phone calls per week until visits resume. 

March 13

Suspension of Visits/Volunteer Programs: All visits, including volunteer visits, are temporarily suspended at all Department of Corrections Institutions. 

Suspension of Medical Co-Pays: The medical co-pay is temporarily suspended to allow persons in our care exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19 to seek medical attention right away.