29 Sep Survey Shows Reaction of BOP Employees to Covid-19 in Prisons
For over a year, the novel coronavirus has affected everyone in the BOP from incarcerated people to staff to the local communities. Since the pandemic began, the BOP recorded more than 258 federal prisoner deaths and six BOP staff member deaths from COVID-19. For most, the response to the pandemic behind bars has been dreadful. A new follow-up survey conducted by DOJ’s Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) shows the reaction of BOP employees on how federal prisons are handling the impacts of COVID-19.
BOP Employees described the response as “effective” or “somewhat effective.”
The DOJ’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted the survey in Feb. 2021. They received 6,578 responses out of almost 35,000 BOP employees. The majority of respondents rated the BOP’s response to the pandemic as “Somewhat Effective” or “Effective” in the survey. They also mentioned that “the pandemic has had negative effects on BOP staff and that opportunities for improvement remain.”
Regarding their vaccination status, the most of the respondents declared that they got the vaccine. However, one out of every five said that they are planning to get their vaccine dose but hadn’t yet. And another 18% of the respondents said they do not plan to get the jab at all. As a result, it’s not a surprise that some officials see mandating the vaccine for correctional officers as indeed a necessity.
Consistent with these figures, 75% of BOP employees declared that they used a proper face covering. On the contrary, only 44% reported that they observed other employees wearing a mask. Furthermore, 24% of BOP employees think that they contracted the virus in prison. And 66% said that they did tasks that were not part of their usual job duties because of the pandemic.
Finally, 70% of respondents experienced stress and anxiety for being called to work during the pandemic.
BOP Employees say medical care has been good, but reporting indicates otherwise.
Interestingly, the areas of work that the staff most likely to think that the BOP did a good job were prisoner’s medical care, medical isolation or quarantine of incarcerated people and testing them for COVID-19. But reporting shows a failing responses of COVID-19 in prisons across the country.