Recently CSC released a new memo entitled, “URINALYSIS PROGRAM – COVID-19 – TEMPORARY CHANGES” (dated March 24th, 2020).
In this memo, it identifies the following direction for the Community:
In the community, the frequency of urinalysis testing must be respected unless it is impossible to ensure social distancing or if the collector refuses to complete this task. If the frequency of urinalysis testing cannot be respected, other strategies to supervise the special condition must be put in place and must be documented in a casework record.
USJE has long maintained the position that Community Parole Officers should not be conducting urinalysis tests on offenders in the Community. Back in 2007 when the work description for Parole Officers was being updated, this very discussion occurred with CSC and it was agreed that Parole Officers should not be completing urinalysis testing. This is why we do not see it in the work description.
For some of our members, in the past, they have felt compelled to conduct the actual urinalysis tests in the following circumstances:
1) when CSC does not have proper contracts in place
2) if an offender was residing a rural area where testing was not available
3) if an offenders shows up at the office/site and there was a concern that the offender may be using substances.
While never supported by USJE, CSC has provided training to front line Parole Officers to conduct urinalysis testing on a voluntary basis.
USJE is now hearing safety concerns from front line Parole Officers around conducting urinalysis tests during the time of the COVID crisis.
USJE wishes to reiterate that no Parole Officer should be asked or required to conduct a urinalysis test on an offender in the Community at any time. This duty should be completed by a contractor.
If USJE members are being asked or expected to conduct these urinalysis tests, they are asked to contact their USJE Local President immediately. USJE will then bring this to the attention of senior CSC management and demand this to stop.
Take care of yourself during these challenging times.