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Inmates and Covid-19

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
September 14, 2020 5:00 am

Inmates and Covid-19

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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September 14, 2020 5:00 am

During the pandemic, Core Civic continues to care for 13,000 workers and tens of thousands of inmates at their 69 facilities across the country. Steve Conry (VP of Core Services) called the show to discuss the logistics and commitment of Core Civic to their workers and to those incarcerated in their facilities. 

Matt More (SR director re-entry services) also discuss the role of faith-based programs like the prosthetic limb recycling program founded by my wife, Gracie, through our organization Standing With Hope (the parent company of Hope for the Caregiver.

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Call 866-WIN-ASIA or to see chickens and other animals to donate, go to crittercampaign.org. Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver. I am Peter Rosenberger. This is the show for you as a family caregiver for those of you who are putting yourself willingly, knowingly, voluntarily between a vulnerable loved one and even worse disaster. How are you doing? How are you holding up?

How are you handling things? And that's what this show is all about. 877-655-6755. 877-655-6755 if you want to be a part of the show. With me as ever is himself, the Count of Mighty Disco, John Butler, who's been with us from the very beginning. And he's the man that keeps it on the rails. Isn't that right, John? You're the show engineer. Well, it's good to see you as always, John.

And I have my video monitors set up so I could look at your face from Montana while you're in Nashville. And we are thrilled to have you as part of the show. You know about our work. Those of you who've been listening for some time know about our work at Standing with Hope, which is the presenting sponsor of this show.

Standing with Hope is the vision that Gracie had when she gave up both of her legs. She wanted to be able to provide quality prosthetic legs to her fellow amputees. And we've been doing that now for 15 years. We work with the Republic of Ghana in West Africa.

All right. So for the first four years of this, we would collect used prosthetic limbs that came from all over the country to us. And then I would disassemble them so we could recycle the parts. And then we would ship that along with new materials that we purchased over to West Africa. Then we'd help sponsor limbs and all that kind of stuff and provide them with the necessary things. And I sat there in my den many a night with legs strewn about the den.

So after disassembling legs in my den floor for some time, I thought, gosh, there's got to be a better way to this. And one of our board members, longtime college friend of mine, Mary Dawson, worked at CoreCivic. And she introduced me to the folks there that could form a faith based partnership with CoreCivic.

And that's what we did. They worked out a program for inmates to volunteer at one of the facilities that they administer. They administer correctional facilities all over the country and own several and contract out with local governments and federal governments and so forth to do the others. And they said, we always look for faith based programs of things that are of interest that our inmates can participate in and enjoy and so forth.

Of course, they have to earn the right to do it, to be around tools and things such as that. And it was just a wonderful partnership. And the inmates seemed to really love it. And I was very grateful for the help.

And so we started this program in 2011 and it's just continued to grow. I think we're getting close to a thousand legs that they have helped us recycle. And that may not sound like a huge amount, but think about the amount of sheer volume of prosthetic limbs that have come to a prison. And it's really kind of funny because sometimes people will leave them there at the front.

You just have a box of legs. It's kind of odd, but they've been very gracious about it. And it got me thinking about this whole thing with the coronavirus. How have correctional facilities dealt with this?

And so I wanted to have them on. And I've got Steve Connery, vice president of core services, and Matt Moore is the senior director of reentry services to talk about this program and the things that they're doing with the coronavirus and everything else. Because there are a lot of families that are unable to see their loved ones in a correctional facility during regular visiting hours and things such as that. It's been a little bit weird. They've had to do some adjustments.

And then you've got the inmates themselves are trying to wrap their minds around what's going on in the world outside this facility and are they safe where they are. And so I thought, well, let's just bring these guys in and let them tell some of the things they've had to implement, do, and challenges they've faced, hurdles they've overcome, and what are their thoughts on this moving forward. So Steve and Matt, thank you very much for being a part of the show today. Thanks for having us. All right. Well, Steve, let me start off with you.

When you first got the word about this virus. I mean, you guys don't you're responsible for I don't know how many tens of thousands of months. And, you know, you don't have the luxury of just sitting around and just say, well, we're going to hope for the best kind of thing. You've got to put a serious plan in place. Plus, you have to be coordinating with all the federal services and so forth, how they do it. What was that like for you guys? Well, Peter, what I'd say is that thankfully, our organization, just like any other correctional agency across the country and probably the world, has to be on the lookout for contagious diseases. And we were not newcomers to to managing disease inside our facilities. So we routinely deal with, of course, the annual flu cycle when SARS and H1N1, those type of things popped up.

Measles, mumps also common. We've got hope protocols in place to surveil and be ready for when there's a small outbreak to handle it. So we kind of already had the muscle memory to deal with contagious diseases. But thankfully, we all recognized when the first news reports came out about coronavirus and just paid a lot of attention well before it became a pandemic, way before the United States had its first case. And we built a coronavirus specific plan and then immediately executed it. And from that day forward, we have not stopped researching and paying attention to what our health authorities, whether it's the CDC or our state and local county health authorities are saying. And we take all that into consideration. And we have a just a fantastic team. You know, Peter, today we have 13000 staff members who wear a core civic I.D.

badge. And every one of them is a reentry professional. It's something that we believe deeply about that every single person that works for the company, regardless of their title, is responsible for being a reentry professional and addressing recidivism reduction in all sorts of different ways.

And now on top of that, they've all become coronavirus specialists as well through the many ways that you've heard. So we continually learn, we continually change our practices and protocols when the science changes and we become aware of things and couldn't be more proud of the team in the way that they work tirelessly to get us our our PPE, our sanitation supplies. In the beginning, very hard for us to obtain those materials, but very proud of the fact that we we didn't run out. We prepared in advance. And, you know, today I have a very smooth system in place to make sure that those 13000 people we call them heroes these days because they're on the front line of this and and really doing heroic work at our facilities. Well, you know, and that brings me to a question of all the things that supplies you guys had to get.

And Matt, feel free to jump in on this. I imagine that was a bit stressful because, I mean, John and I were at the Walmart trying to find toilet paper. I mean, you know, it's hard enough when you do it for individuals. Imagine doing it for what do you guys have, 85 facilities? And we have about 69 facilities between jails, prisons, residential reentry centers, and detention centers. So, and that's about 50,000 inmates, give or take every single day detainees and residents that we care for.

You know, and so, yeah, I mean, I imagine that was rather stressful and and challenging when you do these things that you guys are not. Like you said, you're not operating in in this is not your first go around with infectious disease you're not operating in a vacuum either you have strict guidelines from the federal government. And I guess as well state government is that how that works. Our contracts typically will include provisions that mandate that we'd be ready to address any kind of health concern. That we may detainee a resident may suffer from, and from that flows, you know, the responsibility to have medications on hand, keeping we use PP&E every day in a correctional facility.

So we didn't have to learn how to use it and where to buy it. We already had established relationships because of what I had said earlier about being ready for contagious disease dealing with chemicals at a facility. All those established but of course, that didn't mean much if nobody could get the supply. So, you're right, it was stressful but our procurement team just did a, an amazing job of never taking no for an answer. Everybody was very focused on sending her any kind of information we had about a certain supplier what they had matching what we needed those type of things so it was a big team effort. If somebody gets sick, and they present at the because you guys all have in house, medical facilities that every one of your, your sites. If so somebody gets sick and they manifest some level of, of, of coven 19 symptoms, you know what, what happens. How does that work because just sending somebody to the hospital when they're an inmate is not, you know, you just don't do that you don't say okay just go to the hospital. It involves staff it involves coordination with the hospital that I mean there's so many different levels of things going on.

I mean, granted, y'all not y'all been doing this for some time so I would imagine that those things are not new to you but this is a little bit different because of the contagiousness of this thing so how did that work out what are the, what's the steps for that. Well, luckily, every day we operate medical clinics in almost all of our facilities, and these medical clinics are, you know, prepared to handle many things, including surveillance for the coven disease, when it pops up. And once it does, again those protocols kick in place where we're able to isolate individuals who are either symptomatic or test positive. And from that point forward, that person is monitored, they're treated, and very rarely but sometimes we do have inmates that have to go to the hospital. As a result of that, as we all know, if you have other medical issues, then if you get coded, then those could make coded more severe. And sometimes the, the inmates that are sent to the hospitals have other health issues going on as well, but the, the vast majority 99% or more stay in the facility they're treated they're, they're monitored, and they recover.

within the normal time, whether that's seven days 10 days 14 days every person is different but these days it's about 10 days that they'd remain in isolation for a mild or moderate case where they stay isolated they're on site with the core civic site. Yes, yeah we have isolation type of setups there for them. We have what they call negative pressure rooms, where the inmates be placed in and, and they're always right within the medical area. So we have doctors nurses to attend to them. And then of course our correctional staff would be in the area as well, but they to wind up being protected because they don't typically have to go inside that that negative pressure room. That's what that's where they took Gracie when, when she was diagnosed back in at the first of March. And, you know, they've put in a negative pressure room and but she never went on a ventilator but she did have oxygen that you guys if they got to go to ventilator you're not going to do that on site that has to go to a hospital is that correct.

That is correct. Well, we got to take a quick break here, just a quick break. We're talking with Matt Moore, who's the Senior Director of reentry services and Steve Connery vice president core services for course core civic, and they are, I think they are the nation's correctional facility company, and have a lot of lot of people that they're responsible for. And if they're not healthy, if their staff is not healthy, how in the world they go be able to care these folks there and we're going to talk about that when we get back. This is Peter Rosenberg and this is hope for the caregiver. And we're so glad that you're with us 877-655-6755 we'll be right back.

Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you. I'm Gracie Rosenberger, and in 1983, I experienced a horrific car accident, leading to at surgeries and both legs amputated, I questioned why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me, but over time, my questions changed, and I discovered courage to trust God, that understanding, along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs led me to establish standing with hope for more than a dozen years, we've been working with the government of Ghana in West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people on a regular basis we purchased and ship equipment and supplies, and with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison, we also recycle parts from donated limbs. All of this is to point others to Christ, the source of my hope and strength. Please visit standingwithhope.com to learn more and participate in lifting others up that standingwithhope.com I'm Gracie, and I am standing with hope. Welcome back to hope for the caregiver This is Peter Rosenberger This is the nation's number one show for you as a family caregiver we're so glad that you're with us, 877-655-6755 877-655-6755 if you want to be a part of the show we're talking with Steve Connery, Vice President of core services and Matt Moore senior director reentry services, of course civic man I want to deviate just a little bit I want to get back to the corona thing. What do these, you, you've heard Gracie story and what she's talked about with envisioning this she'll be joining us at the bottom of the hour with for a segment I'm gonna do with her but what do you, what are your thoughts on these reentry. These faith based programs when it comes to the reentry services that you provide.

And what are some things that you've seen and what are some things that you would like to see more of. Well, there are great faith based programs are a great partner of ours. During this coronavirus piece one of the two of them that have been great helps and great partners, whether this is men of valor in here in Tennessee, produced a series of videos that were, that were, we've been showing in our facilities that just bring encouragement and hope to the inmates when they can't see their, their family. And hope and encouragement and, you know, in using nationally recognized artists and speakers and comedians and pastors to bring an encouraging word when they can't have visitors and that's been very important. So, yeah, we have partnered with a number of faith based organizations that that really are a huge help to us. Well, it's been a wonderful experience for us with the prosthetic limb program and I know our friend Johnny Erickson Todd and her program wheels for the world is also found that very meaningful. And can you connect the dots and draw the line, pretty clearly on the faith based programs, and the recidivism rate. Absolutely, there's, there is a good bit of research out there that that shows that, you know, the faith based programs.

Absolutely do work and absolutely do help reduce recidivism. Well, that's wonderful. And I really do appreciate what you guys have done and the inmates seem to really like it. It's different, it's, you know, it's kind of weird when you walk into the shop and all these legs and arms are laying around but it is kind of weird and that will say this, y'all don't tell this to anybody they'll just keep this twixt us, but I had to put together a bunch of supplies to go on the palette that was going to go to Ghana. And, you know, they were packing it up in there at Nashville Metro Davidson facility where we did the program now we're moving it to Arizona, but I wanted to drop off some supplies. When one of the tools that we use in our work, because you're always working with pylons you got to make them shorter is a hacksaw.

And I went out and bought a bunch of tools that I had that in a box that, and as I got to the at the front there where they were skipping it. It dawned on me, you know, sending a hacksaw into a prison is probably not a good idea. So, we had to, we had to adjust quickly. So, sorry about that but don't tell anybody that okay let's just keep that twixt.

Alright, Steve. One of the things I want to ask you before we get to the bottom of the hour and you guys been gracious to spend the time with me is the fear that can happen in the room or meal that can happen when you're dealing with a global pandemic like this, and these guys are are contained in a closed environment. Talk about a little bit that that fear and how you guys address it talk about that room or meal and what you guys did to, you know, to, to keep that from getting out of hand. Well, the first thing I'd say Peter is that inmates are no different than you and I and others in the community.

Everybody fears the unknown, you can plan for the future at least you feel the future is uncertain and inmates are no different. So, we all have that common need and how we address that need to clarify the future to help them understand what's going on is communication. So, it's a key part of the facility leaders job to make sure that not only he or she does that communication. Personally, but then all levels of the management team from him or her all the way down to our frontline officers frontline workers talk about, you know, what is fact and what is fiction, and they're able to do that because we have been providing them with guidance. Multiple times a week every time the science changes studies come out those type of things were feeding them that information and this way they can turn around and talk to them about it. We also have given them tools to help, help them understand how the coronavirus is working in the particular area around the facility. So, for instance, we developed the 50 mile radius map that each facility leader could look at every day and determine whether the area where our staff come from, and is surrounding the facility whether it's at a high incident rate or, or is it low is it increasing or decreasing so it's a matter of educating our people, and also giving them the tools to do it themselves on a daily basis. And that just becomes the information for them to pass along to both staff and inmates. We put up signs and posters, multiple languages depending on on the culture of that facility. Mostly signs and posters coming out of the CDC, you know just the basic stuff you need to know washing your hands, how to deal with sneezing and blowing your nose that kind of etiquette stuff, how to properly wash your living quarters and your surroundings to keep it germ free, all those things so I think we've been very successful in doing that. And, but, you know, we, we, we really are careful each time we are introducing a new protocol to make sure that it's communicated right they understand why we're doing something, and that it doesn't increase the amount of fear, as opposed to what we always are trying to do, which is clarify things and reduce the stress, the anxiety inside those facilities inside those, those housing areas. Well, the last minute that we have here, would you take a moment to address family members that that have, you know, loved ones inside a facility that are incarcerated, maybe loved ones with, you know, some significant health issues and diabetes and so forth I imagine that is something that is heavy on a lot of people's mind because I can't necessarily get to them they want to make sure they're being treated well and all those kinds of things. Take just a moment to 30 seconds to tell those family members, you know your thoughts on that.

Well, I would assure them that we are 100% focused on the monitoring of all inmates, but especially those that are highest priority highest at risk for the disease if they get it so we are putting them together and making sure that everything is done to keep the disease away from them, and the monitoring is also very very strong in those areas. So, I think that's the key thing. Well, thank you very much.

Steve Connery, Vice President Core Services at CoreCivic, Matt Moore, Senior Director of Reentry Services at CoreCivic, corecivic.com if you want to learn some more about it. You guys are stepping in as surrogate caregivers for so many folks there. Thank you for your hard work.

Thanks for taking the time on the show today. I mean, I don't have any legs anymore. What can God do with that? And then she had this vision for using prosthetic limbs as a means of sharing the gospel to put legs on her fellow amputees and that's what we've been doing now since 2005 with Standing With Hope. We work in the West African country of Ghana and you can be a part of that through supplies, through supporting team members, through supporting the work that we're doing over there.

You can designate a limb. There's all kinds of ways that you can be a part of giving the gift that keeps on walking at standingwithhope.com. Would you take a moment to go out to standingwithhope.com and see how you can give? They go walking and leaping and praising God. You can be a part of that at standingwithhope.com.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-24 13:32:27 / 2024-01-24 13:42:26 / 10

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