DOVER – The Department of Correction will temporarily suspend in-person visitation to all of its Level V prison and Level IV work release and violation of probation facilities as a precaution to protect inmates and staff from COVID-19 beginning Friday, officials announced.
This measure is in response to the record rate of transmission of the illness in the community and is part of ongoing efforts to minimize the risk of community spread of the virus to DOC facilities, a news release states.
“The health and safety of our officers, staff, visitors and the individuals under our supervision is our top priority," said Department of Correction Commissioner Monroe B. Hudson Jr. "While our comprehensive screening, testing and mitigation measures have continued to keep the numbers of inmate COVID cases at a low level across our correctional system we are temporarily suspending inmate visitation as a necessary step to reduce the risk of this illness entering and spreading within our facilities. We appreciate the cooperation and understanding of inmate family members and others who are impacted by this temporary measure.”
The suspension of in-person visitation will be reviewed on a continual basis and will be restarted as soon as it is safe to do so.
The DOC offers a variety of phone and video visitation to inmates in order to facilitate family and community support that is important to their wellbeing. During the COVID-19 pandemic the DOC sped up and completed a multi-year technology project to expand video visitation to all Level V prison facilities. Work is currently underway to further expand video visitation to Level IV work release and violation of probation facilities.
This is the third time during the COVID-19 pandemic that in-person visitation has been temporarily suspended, all amid high rates of community transmission outside of DOC facilities.