The restart of in-person inmate visitations comes as DOC has already begun to resume in-person inmate programming for substance use disorder treatment services and mental health counseling.
SMYRNA (DE) BY DIGITAL STAFF: After in-person visitations were suspended back in November 2020, the Delaware Department of Corrections says it will restart in-person inmate visitations starting Tuesday March 16, 2021.
There is one catch. You have to register for an appointment. According to a news release, “Prison facilities will begin taking registrations for in-person visitation appointments this coming Monday, March 8. Visitation procedures and instructions are posted online HERE and on the inmate visitation webpage at https://doc.delaware.gov/views/visit_inmate.blade.shtml.“
“With just a few remaining inmates recovering from COVID-19 at one correctional facility, and with community spread declining, we are prepared to allow in-person visitation to resume,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said. “Video visits have proven to be a safe, effective way to keep families connected during this pandemic, but we know in-person visits are important for inmates and their loved ones.”
The Department says that “In-person visitation was suspended in mid-November amid rapidly increasing numbers of positive COVID-19 test results among the general population outside of the correctional system and indications of significant community spread of the disease.”
That’s a pretty strong allegation to make against the general public so we reached out to the Department of Corrections to allow them an opportunity to better clarify their statement and according to DOC spokesman Jason Miller, “The DOC conducts contact tracing of COVID-19 cases that have occurred within our facilities and we have acknowledged that they have originated either with DOC staff and healthcare workers who work in DOC facilities, by newly-arriving inmates from the community, and in at least one instance by an inmate contracting the illness while receiving treatment in an area hospital.
Miller also noted that newly arriving inmates are held in quarantine for 14 days before entering the general prison population.
Miller added, “That community spike led to elevated numbers of COVID-19 cases among the inmate population and prompted the activation of specially-designed COVID-19 treatment centers. Through round-the-clock treatment and monitoring of COVID-positive inmates by healthcare professionals, aggressive proactive COVID-19 testing and quarantine, continued screening and cleaning, and other mitigation measures, the number of active inmate cases dropped steadily over the first several weeks of 2021 and fell into the single digits by mid-February.”
The restart of in-person visitation comes as DOC has already begun to resume in-person inmate programming for substance use disorder treatment services and mental health counseling.
Education programs are being provided in DOC facilities through live video instruction. Last year the DOC produced and deployed more than 60 mobile technology stations into inmate housing units, which has facilitated expanded video education, programming, and medical and behavioral health telemedicine services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent DOC COVID-19 mitigation highlights: The DOC continues to employ a variety of prevention, screening, cleaning and containment measures to guard against the spread of the novel coronavirus, including:
Recent DOC COVID-19 mitigation highlights:
The DOC continues to employ a variety of prevention, screening, cleaning and containment measures to guard against the spread of the novel coronavirus, including: