Visitation is set to resume at all state prisons on November 1st.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections announced the end of the moratorium on visitation that began in late July as case numbers began to surge with the emergence of the Delta variant. With COVID-19 indicators trending in the right direction, MDOC felt that visitation can resume safely.
“The decision is based on discussions with State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, community data from the Mississippi Department of Health and MDOC Medical Providers, as well as MDOC’s vaccine administration at each facility. COVID cases are trending down and we feel visitation is safe for inmates with the COVID protocols we have in place,” Deputy Commissioner of Institutions Jeworski Mallett explained.
The protocols referenced by Mallett include requiring visitors to social distance, wear masks, have their temperatures checked at entry points and answer a series of Covid-19 screening questions prior to entry. Inmates will also have to wear masks and be checked for temperature. Visitation areas will be sanitized with electrostatic sprayers and will have hand sanitizing stations.
“Given the drop in COVID cases, it is appropriate and beneficial for inmates to be able to see their relatives and reopening will also allow for them to participate in more programs. We’re trying to return to normal but not too fast. Fortunately, we had some of the lowest rates of inmate COVID cases in the nation and it’s because we took the initiative to sanitize and vaccinate,” MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain said.
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