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Michigan Department of Corrections plans return to in-person visits

Jail/Prison file photo
Posted at 3:18 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 15:18:43-05

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Corrections will resume in-person visiting of prisoners effective March 26.

In-person visiting had stopped last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release Friday.

“We recognize how important in-person visitation is to our prison population,” MDOC Director Heidi Washington. “Connections with family and the community lead to greater offender success. With the continuation of vaccines and cases within the MDOC on a steady decline the department is prepared to provide in-person visits without jeopardizing the safety and wellbeing of our inmates and staff.”

Several safety precautions have been put in place ahead of the new policy.

Before entering the facility, visitors will participate in a screening process, which includes a temperature check and an antigen rapid test.

Visitors will be asked to store their personal masks in the lockers provided and MDOC will provide them with a new mask that must be worn during their visit.

The prisoner taking part in the visit will also take an antigen rapid test prior to the visit as well.

Interactions will be modified during visits.

Hand sanitizer will be provided and plexiglass will serve as a divider between the visitor and the prisoner.

Prisoners aren’t allowed to have physical contact with visitors.

Approved visits must schedule their visits at least 48 to 72 hours in advance and will have a two-hour time limit.

Once visitors have scheduled their visits, they should monitor the MDOC website to ensure the facility isn’t in quarantine, or the housing unit of the prisoner they wish to visit is not in quarantine.

The department will continue monitoring the situation to determine when changes can be made to the in-person visit experience.