An Innovative Approach to Detect and Mitigate COVID-19 in New York State Local Jails
In April 2023, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the CDMCF Training and Technical Assistance team hosted the New York State Sheriffs’ Association (NYSSA) who presented a webinar on implementing a comprehensive approach to the detection and mitigation of COVID-19 in confinement facilities, which includes clean air, clean surfaces, cleaning management standards, building occupancy/limitations, and a technology infrastructure to enable customized, automatic, and regular alerts based on real-time data. The webinar was tailored to public health professionals, state and local sheriffs, and corrections/confinement facility administrators, operators, healthcare personnel, and staff working to better detect and mitigate COVID-19 in prisons, jails, and juvenile confinement facilities.
DELILAH BARTON: Hello, everybody. My name is Delilah Barton. I'm the Project Manager for the training and technical assistance team under this fantastic BJA program, the Detection and Mitigation of COVID-19 in Confinement Facilities. Today, we are very happy to have you join us because we have a great presentation from the New York State Sheriffs' Association, where they're going to talk about their partnership with the Department of Health and how they were able to reach all of the jails in the state. I think you'll find it a very interesting presentation. With that, we have a little bit of administrative before we start. Next slide, please.
Just a couple of things, just for information, just so you're aware, this webinar is being recorded and at the end of it, we will post the recording, the transcript, and the slides on BJA's project page. For those who have difficulty with hearing, there is closed captioning down in the bottom right-hand corner, you can see that, and put that on. Also, at any point in time during the presentation, if you have questions, please feel free to post them in the chat. We will be monitoring the chat and we'll make sure that the questions either get addressed during the presentation or we'll follow up with you. Also, there should be a link that is posted into the chat right now. Perfect timing, Enditta. For everybody to quickly just click on that link, sign in to the sign-in sheet, so we can preserve it for posterity. And then at the very end, we will have another link for a webinar evaluation. So that's the administrative. Next slide, please.
Our agenda today, we're in the welcome, so I'm about to hand it off to Sara in a moment. And then we will have the presentation from the New York team, that will be followed by question and answer period, where we will also address anything in the chat, and then we'll have very brief slides in the very back to talk about the training and technical assistance that's available out there. So, without further ado, I will hand it off to Sara Sullivan.
SARA SULLIVAN: Good afternoon, everyone. And I just want to thank you guys for joining us. We're really excited to highlight New York State as a part of this webinar series. And I want to highlight the priority that COVID-19 Detection and Mitigation in Confinement Facilities is to the Bureau of Justice Assistance. And kicking off this TTA Center, we know that we are three years plus into the pandemic. And even though the emergency order from the federal government will be coming to a close here next month, we also know that there's still a large focus on this and a need in facilities. And so we're excited to be able to highlight this to you today. We've also heard from many of you and others in the field, both about the challenges in reaching local jails, if you're at the state level, and the limited resources that are available to local jails. And so, New York State has really executed a very creative approach that, as Delilah mentioned, reaches all New York State jails, which is quite impressive. So we're excited to bring them to you and have them share with you what they have done in New York State and see if there's any lessons from this that could be applicable in your jurisdiction. So thank you again and just looking forward to hearing the presentation.
DELILAH BARTON: With that, Bob, we hand it off to you and your team.
ROBERT CUTTITA: Tom, would you start?
TOM MITCHELL: Sure. My name is Tom Mitchell, I’m Counsel to the New York State Sheriffs' Association. I've had that position for about 46 years. Also, on our team, Peter Kehoe is our Executive Director, Jon Greenwalt is our Fiscal Manager, Charles Gallo is our Deputy Director, and Alex Wilson is the Associate Counsel. And all of us are involved in some way or another with the program. There are 57 jails outside of New York City, so the grant that we received is that—and there's a separate grant for New York City. The grant we received is for the 57 counties outside of New York City. So we have regular contact with all of our sheriffs and I particularly have regular contact with all of our jail administrators. But we realize this program will take much more than what we could do because we have, obviously, other duties with the association. So I got a call from Bob Cuttita, who's going to take over just a minute. Bob was formerly a Jail Administrator in both Albany and Schenectady counties in the capital district area of New York State. And then he went on to serve about 17 or 18 years, I believe, at the State Commission of Correction. And the State Commission of Correction is our state agency which oversees all correctional facilities in New York State, so the state prisons over county jails, local lockups, and even youth detention facilities. So in that role, Bob rose to the level of Assistant Director there and was involved with, basically, every county jail, involved in policies. And before he started with us, he was very involved in COVID management in county jails. So when Bob told me that he was about to retire, I asked him if he would consider taking on one more obligation, and he did agree to become our Program Manager for this grant. We also teamed up with Stephanie and Tim Poskin from Cleaning Management consultants, and also Brant Insero from ISSA. And they're both on the line and they'll be talking to us soon. And also, with our grants coming through our State Department of Health, and we dealt with many people that are State Department of Health, it's a very, very large agency. But primarily now our main liaison there is Katie Cooke, who again is on the call and she’ll be talking to with all you folks in just a few minutes.
So we meet with Katie on a Zoom call usually every couple of weeks and in person when we need to. Katie's been very helpful and all of her team at the Department of Health have really been instrumental in getting this grant off the ground. And in getting us through a situation where we can actually provide many services and products and programs for our county jails and for our sheriffs and jail administrators. So with that introduction, I'll turn it over to Bob Cuttita, our Program Manager for the program.
ROBERT CUTTITA: Tom, thank you. Katie? Next slide.
KATHRYN COOKE: Hi. Thanks, Bob. Next slide, please.
So as Tom just said, my name is Katie Cooke. I'm a Senior Program Coordinator in the Office of Criminal Justice Services in the Division of HIV, STI and Hepatitis B Prevention at the AIDS Institute New York State Department of Health. I know it's a long title. But thank you, everyone, for joining us this afternoon to hear more about this program. So overall, I provide technical assistance and fiscal oversight for this cooperative agreement. So I'm going to just explain a little bit of the history on the program and then pass it over to Bob.
So the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, in partnership with the Department of Justice is providing financial assistance to ELC recipients. The objectives and the goals are to provide resources to confinement facilities for the detection and mitigation of COVID-19. As it was said, this program started in 2021 and we are anticipating it ending in 2024. Also, as we said, the funding went to New York State separately from New York City, so all the work that we're talking about today is being done outside of New York City in the rest of the state. So us at the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, we're administering this portion of the agreement. Next slide, please.
Great. Thank you. So we handle it a little differently. We subcontracted with four entities due to their unique role with the criminal justice system here in New York State. So I'm going to go into a little bit of a background on those. So we contracted out the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision which is DOCCS. They have the oversight of our state correctional facilities and our parole system. So throughout New York, we have nine hubs and 44 facilities. There's roughly 20,000 individuals within our DOCCS system. We also partnered with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. And they are responsible for oversight in our state juvenile detention facilities of which there are 18 throughout New York State. We also partnered with the University of Rochester, Center for Community Practice, to have them just develop a toolkit or some type of policy and procedure document that we could share with our funded partners for the detection and mitigation of COVID-19. And lastly, and for the bulk of this presentation, we partnered with the New York State Sheriffs' Association, because, as it was said, they represent the 58 elected and appointed sheriffs in New York State. Our state system is very diverse here in New York. We're seeing that this week a few of us are on the road going into county jails. We were in three today, and it was just so interesting to see the difference in this state from one county to the next in our county jail system. One of the jails we were in today was built in the 1930s. So, it was very interesting just to see the inside of the jail, how they're doing things. And everybody's needs are so unique. And that's why working with the Sheriffs' Association has been such a positive benefit because we were able to tailor this program to each of the county jails and try to help them as much as possible. Just so everyone knows, the largest county jail system outside of New York City is Nassau County. For those of you who are not native to this area, that's the part that little island that goes out on Long Island closest to the city. And then the smallest county jail is Hamilton, which has only five beds. So as you can see, we are very diverse here in New York across the state. So now I'm going to pass it over to Bob.
ROBERT CUTTITA: Katie, thank you very much. So as Tom said, I have over 31 years of correctional experience in many aspects of corrections. So when I retired and Tom said we have this grant, I had expressed that I was not interested at first. I know the jail administrators, I know the sheriffs. And he said, why don't you sit in on a few of these calls? Believe me, this is not easy. I know what everyone's going through out there. I spoke to some of you at the national level at the conference. Working with DOH in the very beginning was extremely difficult, their way of doing things. So we had issues with vouchering, reimbursements. It was extremely hectic in the beginning, but we just kept moving forward. We ended up finding middle ground, working with DOH, and once we realized what they needed—well, once I realized what they needed, things became much easier. We found neutral ground and we even traveled together. As Katie said, we're on the road this whole week together, so I don't want anybody out there thinking this is easy. The bull in the china cabinet and I put my head down and I do what it takes.
So in the very, very beginning of this whole process, we sat down with the Sheriffs' Association and we conducted several webinars and WebEx’s is with our sheriffs and jail administrators. And we soon realized, we asked them, "What do you need? What do you want with this money?" We realized they were all over the board. Some of them wanted body scanners so they didn't have to touch the population. Some wanted radios, so staff had their own and there was no cross-contamination. And everyone on this call out there knows that a jail administrator can justify just about anything. So we soon realized that the Sheriffs' Association there was a major difference between wants and needs. So my job, which I took on, was to find a way to get the jails what they needed while working with them to provide education on how to mitigate COVID. I also realized that this was the first time in my 31-year career that I could make a significant change on the entire system.
First thing I did was I reached out to a colleague of mine, Brant Insero from ISSA, and he'll explain who he is in a little while. As I look over my career, I realized that in those 31 years, we had to deal with things like bird flu, a Zika virus, Ebola, and then now COVID. Find a way that we could get this COVID grant out, help the facilities mitigate COVID, and also protect us from the next virus, which we all know it's just around the corner waiting to kill us. So I said, "How can we do this and get the funds out to every single facility?" I soon realized I needed a baseline of what's going on. What's going on with the jail in the past, during the height of COVID? What's their current situation? We had to some way come up with a needs assessment, but I had no idea what that looked like. So when I reached out to Brant, I said, "What can we do with this?" Brant introduced me to a great company, Cleaning Management Concepts, known as CMC. This was a company that was hired throughout the country during the height of COVID to come up with strategies during the height of COVID to keep places open, such as schools, banks, large companies. I'm going to turn this over to a good friend of mine, Stephanie Poskin, owner of CMC. But before I do, Stephanie, I just want to put out there to everyone. Stephanie's husband who is also a good friend of ours and been on many travels, had emergency surgery this week, pretty severe. And he's doing good. But I just want to have everybody send positive thoughts to him. And Stephanie, I turn it over to you now.
STEPHANIE POSKIN: Thank you, Bob. I think we're on the next slide. There we go. Hi, everyone. After [INDISTINCT] engaged Cleaning Management Concepts as a partner, we adopted the sort of a boots on the ground approach and using an assessment tool based on what we learned from organizations that remained operational during the COVID pandemic, such as those essential sectors like banking and education and infrastructure. These assessments were based on four criteria, and that was building use, access and separation, clean air, clean surfaces, and cleaning management. We'll go more in-depth in the tracking and trending in a later slide that Mr. Cuttita will address. Next slide.
Thank you. In the first six months, we visited 48 of the 57 jails. It was determined that there was a lack of cleaning systems in place. In the first while the jails had policies and procedures for building use, access, and separation, because that's the nature of what jails do, there were no policies and procedures on cleaning, tracking, or any cleaning standards. When looking at the product inventory to address cleaning and disinfection, we found that there was really too many products unlabeled and expired cleaning products, a lack of dilution and control systems. Everyone thinks they're a chemist. Homemade solutions that we found at conflict, they made it up as they went, bleach and ammonia together and hand sanitizer in like homemade foggers, believe it or not. Next slide, please.
I know you can't read this slide and that's okay. It was really just sort of a background and I'll talk you through it. The grant shows the why we focused on cleaning component for the grant. The chart reads from left to right with the categories on the left being the most compliant with the categories on the right being the least compliant. And here's the top three of each of those categories. Most of the jails had limited or controlled entry points. They had reduced exposure by limiting movement and they had appropriate PPE. Most of the jails did not have policies and procedures on cleaning appropriate cleaning skills or objective in cleaning standards. Next slide, please.
Let's talk about what objective cleaning tool is. We introduced an ATP meter and swabs. And an ATP meter, it measures what you can't see, but it doesn't tell you what it is. It just tells you that there's something there. And let's just be clear, you don't want anything there. It gives you a number that measures the cleanliness. And if you're looking at the chart now, you can see that effective cleaning numbers from the ATP meter swab is 499 and below would be in the green. What needs improvement, which would be in the yellow, is 500 to 999. In the ineffective cleaning are numbers that are over a thousand and above. And what we saw was a hundred percent of the jails had more than one surface in the red zone. So over a thousand, only eight percent of the jails had one or more surfaces in the green zone. The dirtiest surfaces, let's see if I can get this number right, was 3800, no, 385,893 on that ATP score and the cleanest was 185. And both of those surfaces were in staff break rooms. So, one very much in the red, way past the red, and one very much below the green. So it tells you again what's not on it, but what is the count. So we knew at this point we needed to rethink clean. And with that, that's the next slide, we pass it off to Brandt.
ROBERT CUTTITA: So before Brandt takes over, we had to rethink clean. We realized that cleaning was very subjective. Cleaning standards were extremely subjective. What's clean to me is not clean to probably most of the people out there. So, my wife is way far cleaner than I am. This meter puts a number, a certain place and time. And what we're telling the jails to do is to just get that number to reduce. This way you know that you're putting in effective. We knew what the jails had or were in need of. Now it was time to teach them how to clean. Currently, we all know we take a mop, which is a cotton mop, and a bucket, and we start at one end and we go to the other. We're basically just spreading dirt. I was an Assistant Jail Administrator at Schenectady County and met Brant when he first came into this business. He started a Cleaning for Health Program at my jail. I remembered that and I thought, how can we get this going in all the jails throughout the state of New York? ISSA and the New York State Sheriffs' Association worked together and we started a rethinking clean program. We work very hard to capitalize on this. We are not mandating jails to do this, but we want them to start the program as soon as possible. We're going throughout the state of New York and we're setting up several areas for the training. The surrounding jails will come in, be trained, and then they'll get a certification to go back to their facilities. So I'd like to now introduce to you Brant Insero, ISSA. Next slide.
BRANT INSERO: Good afternoon, everybody. And thank you so much. We are so grateful to be a part of this program, Mr. Cuttita and the New York State Sheriffs' Association. Let me start out by telling you who ISSA is, because I think that will help paint the picture of what we do for the incarcerated population, the staff, the sheriffs, and the association.
The ISSA is a hundred-year-old, not-for-profit trade association. And our sole purpose and existence in our education department is to educate, certify, empower the past, present, and future of the cleaning industry. And our hope is simple, is to create pathways for people to be successful upon release inside of the incarcerated population. But as we started this process with the New York State Sheriffs' Association, there was some things that we didn't expect that happened, and a lot of it was based on culture. As we went through the different jails and facilities to implement this Cleaning for Health and certification program for the incarcerated population, we noticed that the cleaner facilities, the healthier facilities, the culture shifted. We saw infractions reduced. And we started to see staff and officers asking and begging for the services of a cleaner, healthier facility to be provided in their zones. So I'd like to take a moment and just talk simply about the process of where we're going today.
First and foremost, this is the first statewide program for the local county jail system in the history of ISSA. In its hundred years, we have never done this before. We are offering this program to all 57 counties. We've launched two "Train-the-Trainers." So far out of the two workshops we had 40% of the people that were invited to the first class attend. The second class, a hundred percent. And right before that class with Sheriff Smith in Montgomery County and Sheriff Craig Apple, we had one of the largest press conferences in reaches that we've ever had in the history of ISSA again. Everybody wanted to be a part of the program. And along with that, we were able to begin tying in other members of ISSA to help support this program, such as manufacturers and distributors. But the Train-the-Trainer program is where the magic begins. Individuals such as staff, civilians, or officers will take Train-the-Trainer and become a certified professional trainer. Upon the exit of that class and their certification, they will begin to implement training the incarcerated population. Now, the training elements are the very basics, the daily and routine cleaning tasks that anybody needs to be successful in the commercial cleaning industry. Now, what's really beautiful about this program is that these certifications are globally recognized in over a hundred countries. And to date, we have trained and certified over 300,000 cleaning professionals globally. Next slide, please.
So let's talk about the execution for you and how it applies to your agents. Commissary funds, materials, chemicals, and all of the training support materials that you need to implement the program. And quite honestly, my favorite part of this entire process and the most fulfilling is when we receive notifications from some of our members that they've hired the incarcerated population and these individuals have begun their career. We have seen success in the state of California where somebody was incarcerated and the next day upon release from this course, they started a new job making $26 an hour. So the proof is in the pudding. We know that the program works and we are truly, truly honored to partner with the New York State Sheriffs' Association, the President of Association Craig Apple and Sheriff Smith, among the other 56 counties. So thank you for your support and again, we are truly grateful. And back to you, Bob.
ROBERT CUTTITA: Brant, as always, thank you very much. Next slide.
So now that we know what's going on in our facilities, we're getting the equipment and the right chemistry to our sheriffs, we're starting the Cleaning for Health Program. We're getting the incarcerated population out, doing the work that they're being trained to do and doing the workout in the facilities, tactical applications being done. What else could we do?
When I was with the governor's office, one of my jobs during the height of COVID was to call every single jail in the state of New York to include New York City and get those COVID numbers. We had to do it two or three times a day. Imagine calling these jails every single day two to three times when they are in panic mode just to get numbers. The next thing I thought we needed to do with this money was to get everybody on the same platform in the state of New York. This will be the first time New York State Sheriffs will all be on a single platform and be able to track and trend COVID. I met a gentleman from BI2 Technologies. Their software will tie in to the jail software as well as the medical software and it creates a report. It allows sheriffs from around the state to see not only what's going on in their facility at a touch of a button, but what's going on around them. Next slide, please.
This is just an example of the report. So Albany County, it'll give you their population, the total people that have been tested, the total people that have been quarantined. Eventually, on the left-hand side where it says Albany County, there'll be 57 county jails listed, with all of their information, specific person, but with numbers. What this allows sheriffs to do in the state of New York will be able to look at their partners and their surrounding communities. And if they see an uptick in COVID cases, then they start cleaning more, shutting down things, putting other things in place to protect themselves. We also have something here in New York State called transfer orders. Right now if you have to transfer an incarcerated individual because a facility doesn't have maybe medical or something like that or a program, there'd be no reason to call all your surrounding communities to say, hey, will you take this person? Will you take this person? They'll be able to press a button and see what's going on in those facilities and are they in crisis and not even bother the next sheriff. Slide.
So what is our next steps? Right now, we're working with CMC to conduct a follow-up survey. We want to know what we're doing in New York. Is it working? What else can be done? And are the things that we put in place actually making a difference? We need to know what's going on in these facilities and then we need to conduct follow-up site visits. We do realize though that New York is so large, it took us a long time to hit all 57 county jails. So we're in that process right now to come up with some ideas, creative ideas, and working with the professionals of CMC and ISSA. What are we going to do? We're also looking to take it a step further because again, if we can't make this something that sticks and mandates people to do this, in a couple months, years, it'll just be a nice thing. Right now, there are no cleaning standards. We have standards for everything in county jail, from when a person comes through the front door to when they leave, to visits, to commissary, to phone calls, you name it, there's a standard. There's not a standard on cleanliness. So I want to work eventually with CDC, BJA, and the people that can make a change where if we come up with obtainable cleaning standards, we can actually make a difference in the county jail systems and possibly the state systems.
And with that, we turn it over to questions. I'd like to introduce Sheriff Jeff Smith of Montgomery County. Sheriff Smith has been through the entire process that we developed. Last week, we conducted a training in his facility where 10 facilities came, did the Cleaning for Health program, and I'm proud to say that Sheriff Smith is not only a sheriff in the state of New York but he's a personal friend, and he'll tell you the truth on what's going on. And that's why I asked him to be here today to let you know what's going on. Sheriff Smith?
SHERIFF JEFF SMITH: Yes, good afternoon. Thank you, Mr. Cuttita. I can't say enough positive things about this program. As the sheriff, I'm super proud of the work that the men and women do in our facility each and every day. And we felt that we had a very clean facility, and when the evaluation came out, and when they came out and they went through our facility, to be honest with you, we were someone ashamed with some of the readings on that meter. But it brought awareness to a problem and enlightened us on ways to do things better, and now after going through the training and partnering with all these organizations, we've been educated, we've been provided the proper information and training, and staff couldn't be happier. They want a clean facility. They want to work in a clean environment. And one of the things that is imperative with this program is having an oversight committee. So the New York State Sheriffs' Association does an incredible job supporting the sheriffs of New York State. We go to them for anything and everything, and they're always there for us. So the combination of them working with the Department of Health and the Bureau of Justice in getting this funding, and then getting Bob Cuttita to come back to work to manage it and partner with the sheriffs has been a great experience, and one that has been very beneficial to all of us.
The training provided us with equipment, provided us with certifications, provided us with education on what chemicals and what material to use to better suit our facility, and protect our staff and the incarcerated individuals. And an added bonus is to be able to train the incarcerated individuals so that they can receive that certification. Our goal is to certainly reduce recidivism and to train people to become responsible citizens and good members of our community upon release, and employment is a big part of that. Montgomery County is a fairly small county, but we have a bunch of industrial work and distribution centers with openings. So it's our goal and our hope that we can get some of those positions filled with people after they've been through this program and released.
Thankfully for us, Hill & Markes, also one of the providers of some of these equipment is in our county, so that makes it a little bit easier for us. So we were honored to be selected and to host one of the first trainings. And I can't say enough. Anyone who's on this call today, if they have questions, they're welcome to reach out, I can put you in touch with the specific staff that have been trained. Up to this point, we have trained all of our Department of Public Works and our staff in the facility, and we're in the process of starting our first classes with the incarcerated individuals. So, great job by everybody, great foresight thinking about how to roll this program out, and I couldn't be more supportive and more appreciative.
ROBERT CUTTITA: Sheriff Smith, thank you so much, and thank you for your support, as always. Some things before—we got a little extra time, I wasn't going to get into, but I think it's important for those out there. We not only rolled this program out, our original thought was to give out 57 individual contracts. We sat down and figured that out, I said to Tom, "There's no way that we can manage this. We will spend more in management costs than we will getting what the jails they actually need." Though, with some prodding and poking, the association, by far, does not have enough money to fund all of this stuff. We worked with DOH, and what we're doing is we are doing bulk purchases. We worked with a company called Bioplanet. They have electrostatic sprayers, the chemistry kills COVID, encapsulates it, drops it to the ground. We were able to, by purchasing on a bulk rate, save the grant, the sheriffs over $10,000. The association bought 77 of them and we had them direct-shipped to the individual jails. So once we did that, we realized we have a major thing going on where the Sheriffs' Association could be the bulk purchaser. We teamed up with Hill & Markes, they're giving us an enormous break on the items that we're purchasing, and again, we worked with them to do all direct-shipped. So we're utilizing the report that CMC develops, working with ISSA to help us do a kiddy list of what each facility needs. We get that list approved by the sheriff, the Sheriffs' Association pays for it, they deliver it directly there, and we start the programs. So this has been an absolute wonderful way to get this done, saving tens of thousands of dollars, which just in the end, goes back to the sheriffs anyways through more products or more chemistry. So I'm very proud that we're able to do that. With that, I think next slide, we can go to questions.
DELILAH BARTON: Well, it does not seem that we have received any questions in the chat, but I will go ahead and open it up to anybody on the call, if you have a question for this team and what they were able to do in New York. We do have one question. The question is from Steve Conte. "What are the costs associated with the cleaning services, supplies, equipment? And if over 50,000 for each individualized cost, how would you make the procurements?"
ROBERT CUTTITA: So we have found—and we're hearing this a lot throughout not only [INDISTINCT] in New York. So because this is coming through the Sheriffs' Association, which is a 501(c)(6) organization, we're not bound by a lot of the state regulations that the county jails are. So we are going in, we're purchasing it and getting it directly there, then we get reimbursed from DOH. So we purchase everything, we submit the vouchers, and then we get reimbursed. I don't know if that helps answer the question, but we're finding the same issues, concerns that our county jails are having. That's why we did not do individual contracts, and that's why we're pushing everything through the association because we're not bound by those governmental rules. The only thing we're bound by is the federal rules of the grants, which is oversighted by DOH, and believe me, they look at every little thing. So we've been very, very fortunate so far, that's why we did not go with individual county contracts. Brant, I'd like to turn it over to you. ISSA absolutely can work with other ones. Brant, if you can answer that? If you can work outside of New York.
BRANT INSERO: Yeah, thanks. Absolutely. So ISSA is a global not-for-profit trade association, so we're able to help anyone in any state, in any country, and more than happy to set up times to talk through the process with you.
DELILAH BARTON: We have another question. “What is the timeline for each of the trainings? Do incarcerated individuals have to be there for a certain period to be involved in the training?
ROBERT CUTTITA: So I'm gonna leave that for Brant also, but one of the exciting things is is we can actually tailor this program, what's needed in each facility. So Brant
BRANT INSERO: Okay. To speak specifically to the training in Schenectady County, I'll use as an example, that was my first time inside of a jail, ever, to be honest with you. And the experience was amazing, and the corrections hold a special place in my heart now because of that experience. But that being said, we designed something that was a total of 32 hours in length, knowing that the county system had the highest turnover in the incarcerated population, so we didn't have them for a long period of time. So we had a total of 32 hours, which is classroom instruction, as well as the performance-based application with the whole intent is to have the incarcerated population helping to clean and maintain the facility through the process of the actual course. So I think it almost is like an internship where they actually have to show proof that they've learned that information. Now, we have some county systems and state prisons. DuPage County, the Federal Bureau of Prisons work with us as well, and they will actually take a course and lengthen it based on their population. And some of them will actually go four to six months long before they turn over and have another class. And one of the thing just a note on that, the class size is also critical to the success. Most organizations will limit the class size to 10 or less incarcerated individuals.
DELILAH BARTON: Another question. “Does CMC work with each jail to create a cleaning and ATP testing schedule? How are you making this a collaborative training opportunity and something that is non-punitive?”
ROBERT CUTTITA: That's a great question. And what we're doing with that is it's all part of the training. When I'm out there and we're doing this, part of our package that we're giving to each facility is an ATP meter, and we let them know that it should not be punitive. It is not meant to say you didn't do your job because the ATP meter only shows a moment of time, so someone just ate, there's obviously going to be something there. There's going to be residue. So we try to explain them during the training, when to do the readings, where to do the readings and be consistent. We are trying to work eventually to have these readings sent back to ISSA, and then have them track it so that we can give them the feedback. The problem with that is the grant money is going to run out and I haven't figured a way to really do that yet. So that's why we started these Cleaning for Health programs. In New York State, we have something called the commissary account. It's where the population purchases things. It goes into an account specifically for them, and the money of that account has to be for them, for the benefit of the incarcerated individuals. So when we started this program, we're trying to work out the aspects of continuing money and how do we continually, because someone on the other end has to keep track of all this.
DELILAH BARTON: That's great. The next question is, “Did you have to modify the original work plan submitted by your Department of Health in order to institute the program?”
ROBERT CUTTITA: We worked very, very close with DOH, our Department of Health. Believe it or not, when we started—I don't know how everybody else is, but it almost took us a year to even get money dated. So when I first started, I wasn't getting paid. It was just something I believed strongly in. So I took almost six months with no pay. Just crashing through the idea of what we're going to do and how we're going to do this. I knew eventually the pay would be there, so I worked on this plan, I would say for probably six months, and then it took another six months to actually get money rolling. So like I said, in the beginning, it was not a great experience, but I believed in what we had. And again, this is the first time in my 31 years in corrections that I knew there was this bulk of money that to be honest with you, I don't think the feds want back. So we have to spend it and I want to make a change. So, I mean, my whole life has been corrections.
DELILAH BARTON: And a final question that we have right now is about the BI2 COVID tracking application. “Are there plans to use it on a routine basis for reporting other communicable diseases to the public health?”
ROBERT CUTTITA: So that's a great question and it is something in my sights because the grant is specifically for COVID. Only dealing with COVID right now, but that doesn't mean that I'm not having backdoor discussions with my Department of Health to monitor and some things. Anything that has to be reported to DOH now, we could report through this. But I've already talked to BI2. They're willing to make the changes, but it can't be paid for through the grant. So I have to find other funding and my department, now that I have contacts with them, they're working with us. Delilah, I'm one of these guys that once I find something, I just keep going, I'm [INDISTINCT]
DELILAH BARTON: That sounds good. No. It's fantastic. Any other questions for this team? Well, if anybody has questions that come into mind, you're welcome to email us. There's going to be contact information actually on the next slide, I think as well for the team in New York. And then there's another contact information at the end of the slides. So if you have follow-up questions, I'm sure that these guys will be happy to respond and get back to you with any information you guys need. Well, with that, thank you so much for that presentation. It's fantastic. I think it's been very helpful and it's interesting to see how different states are tackling this problem. So thank you for your time today and coming out presenting that. Can we move to the next slide?
So, one thing I will point out is that this webinar and this whole process is part of the joint CDC and BJA Training and Technical Assistance program. So we're very happy to bring this kind of information to the field and to you guys who are interested in hearing more about how other people are tackling COVID within the confinement facilities. And with that we wanted to just give you a couple of different slides just to talk about the TTA resources that are available. We have a team of coaches and experts who are available to assist right now, our four coaches Bob Lampert, Wendy Kelley, Kathleen Maurer, Dr. Jennifer Clarke. They are our coaches who are working with Liz [INDISTINCT] and Betty Gondles, and they are reaching out to all the different recipients and doing some baseline needs assessments to see where everybody is in the program and to see where they need to go and what support they need. We did want to provide a link here where you can put in requests for training and technical assistance. So please, if you have questions or requests or need some support, we are here to help. Just reach out to us and we'll get back to you, and through coordination of the program itself. Next slide.
So these are just a couple of examples of the support that our team is providing. We are addressing questions on the guidance for using the available funding, working with CDC on that. There are opportunities for peer-to-peer collaboration and learning. We're doing webinars such as the one that you've just participated in. We are currently in the process of looking at some train-the-trainer curriculums to be developed, and where we've actually got a huge cadre of resources that we're going through right now and pulling together to have for the coaches to provide out to our recipients out there. And then we have many subject matter experts. So if you have a question, just ping it to us and we'll do what we can to address your questions. Next slide.
So, do we have a participant feedback link? Is that in the chat? Yes. So Nadine just placed a link. So participant feedback from this webinar, we greatly appreciate your comments to help us improve, always about continuous improvement. We want to make sure that we're providing you the content and the information that you guys are seeking, so please take a moment to complete that. And with that, Sara, I'd like to hand it to you for any final comments.
SARA SULLIVAN: Thank you, Delilah. I just want to say thank you to everyone. Thank you to CNA for putting this on and for the technical assistance that you provide. Thank you to the folks at New York State, both the Department of Health, the Sheriffs' Association, and others for sharing what you've done. As Delilah said, this webinar series is a part of the COVID-19 Detection and Mitigation in Confinement Facilities, TTA Center that is managed under BJA. And so we're just delighted that you all are here. And please make sure that you send an email to the CNA folks, so you are included on future communication about upcoming webinars that happen. So with that, just thank you everyone and have a great day.
DELILAH BARTON: Thank you.
ROBERT CUTTITA: Thanks, Sara. Thanks, Delilah. This was awesome. Thank you very much.
SARA SULLIVAN: Thanks, Bob.
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