OKLAHOMA CITY – Friday, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections suspended all visitation and volunteer access to facilities to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19. To lessen strain on inmates and their families, ODOC officials have established an agreement to provide each inmate with two free five-minute-long phone calls each week starting Wednesday.
The agreement with the telecommunications company GTL, which provides inmate telephone service inside state facilities, will help ensure inmates’ important connections with loved ones remain during this situation. The agreement runs through April 14. ODOC is also exploring other ways to provide communication between inmates and their families.
Additionally, ODOC is screening staff daily for symptoms of COVID-19 when they arrive for their shifts. If they exhibit symptoms such as a fever, shortness of breath or a cough, they will be required to return home.
ODOC has established a DOC COVID-19 Update telephone line for information related to the pandemic. The public can call 405-425-2556 for updates on facility access, visitation, and other news.
Staff inside those facilities are also prioritizing inmate sick call requests related to respiratory issues for signs of COVID-19.
The public is urged to monitor agency social media and its website, doc.ok.gov, for news on the response.