Virginia DOC to reopen in-person visitation in phases

The department anticipates that in-person family visitation will be resumed at all facilities statewide by Oct. 1


By Lyndon German
The Virginian-Pilot
        
Virginia’s Department of Corrections is planning to allow visitors back into its facilities.

Starting July 15, attorneys, court officials and official visitors will be able to enter DOC spaces.

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, lawyers and family members used video platforms to speak with inmates.

Hampton Roads Regional Jail is photographed in Portsmouth, Va., on Wednesday, July 8, 2020.
Hampton Roads Regional Jail is photographed in Portsmouth, Va., on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. (Kristen Zeis)

The DOC currently supervises about 66,180 people, according to a release from the department. About 72% of persons under its care have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 65% are fully vaccinated. As of Thursday, there are four active COVID-19 cases among inmates and 13 among staff.

The department said it plans to open facilities to religious visitors and volunteers as early as Aug. 1 and pilot sites for in-person family visitation by Sept. 1. The department anticipates that in-person family visitation will be resumed at all facilities statewide by Oct. 1.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus variants, the DOC will continue to follow updates to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Virginia Department of Health guidance for correctional facilities and congregate care settings.

Visitors age 12 and over will be required to take a self-administered (or guardian-administered) COVID-19 rapid antigen test and must receive a negative test result in order to visit a person in prison or a Community Corrections Alternative Program probationer in person.

Masks are required in congregate settings and incarcerated individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be eligible to meet with members of the public in person. Video visits will continue to be available for the unvaccinated.

©2021 The Virginian-Pilot.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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