Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Rise in COVID Leads to Suspended Visitation at MDOC Prisons

Visitation at all Mississippi Department of Corrections prisons has been suspended due to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

MDOC Commissioner Burl Cain sent out an internal memo on Monday announcing updates to the department’s COVID-19 precautions, including canceling visitations.

“Visitation at all institutions is temporarily suspended until further notice. This is a precautionary measure only. These actions are consistent with our mission of enhancing public safety. We are monitoring new developments and adjusting plans accordingly, Cain said in the memo.

MDOC will quarantine prisoners for 10 days before transferring them to new facilities, and all staff and inmates will wear face masks. Routine screenings and temperature checks will be performed daily before each inmate leaves the facility.

MDOC suspended all visitation in March 2020 and reinstated it in May of this year.

In Lafayette County, the detention center currently allows visitation with inmates by appointment only and is limited to family members, said Lafayette County Sheriff Joey East.

That is what the policy at the Lafayette County Detention Center has been since COVID-19 hit the area; however, East said that policy could change if cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.

“We are also discussing new COVID protocols that will be put into place for jail operations as needed,” he said Tuesday. “With the way it is looking, with the spreading of COVID and with school about to start, we will have new protocols in place soon.”