The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced that it is suspending in-person visitation at all state correctional institutions from Jan. 27 through Feb. 28.
DOC Acting Secretary George Little says suspending visitation will allow facilities to effectively allocate staff amid a surge of COVID-19 cases.
“Staffing levels have been significantly impacted throughout the winter months by the same uptick in COVID-19 cases that our communities are experiencing,” said Little. “Even when symptoms are mild, quarantine requirements for COVID-positive staff and close contacts of those who have tested positive have led to an increased reliance on voluntary and mandated overtime that is not sustainable.”
Recreation, education, and access to programming will not be impacted by the statewide suspension in visitation; however, delivery of some services may be modified at the facility level to promote social distancing.
Availability of no-cost video visits will be increased, and the department will provide cable television to the incarcerated population at no charge during the month of February.
People with an in-person visit scheduled for Jan. 27 or later will receive a cancellation notice via email.
When onsite visitation resumes, visitors 12 years and older will be required to acknowledge that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 during the scheduling process and may be asked to provide proof of vaccination before entering the facility.