Prison visitation ban to continue through mid-August
This photo provided by the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in 2018 shows part of the interior of the building in Staunton, Va. For the tens of thousands of kids locked up in juvenile detention centers and other correctional facilities across America in 2020, experts have issued a gloomy warning: The COVID-19 coronavirus is coming. (Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center via AP)

juvenile jail
The Department of Corrections reported a total of 3,401 state prison inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Florida Department of Corrections announced Thursday that visitation rights at all correctional institutions statewide will remain suspend to protect inmates and staff from exposure to COVID-19.

The suspension, first imposed in March, will remain in effect through Aug. 17. The department said the “decision to reinstate the normal visitation schedule will be evaluated in consultation with public health experts. Inmates will continue to have access to their loved ones through mail, phone calls and video visitation.”

FDC also announced it will provide complimentary communication credits to incarcerated individuals through a collaboration with JPay and Securus.

“Inmates will continue to have access to their loved ones through mail, phone calls and video visitation,” FDC said in a press release. “Legal visits will not be impacted, although attorneys are encouraged to consult with their clients via phone, email or mail during this time.”

Presently, inmates are afforded one free video visitation session, one free 15 minute phone call each week, and JPay Stamps.

JPay Stamps can be used to send emails, photos, and VideoGrams.

As state leaders and health officials continue to wrestle with the spread of COVID-19, inmates remain highly vulnerable to the spread due to the nature of correctional facilities.

On Thursday, state agencies reported a total of 3,401 state prison inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of that total, 442 have tested positive at the Columbia Correctional Institution.

Additionally, 957 state corrections workers have also tested positive.

“FDC’s Office of Health Services, institutional medical staff and institutional operations staff work hand-in-hand with the Florida Department of Health to quickly engage and resolve infectious disease outbreaks as soon as they occur,” the department says on their website. “FDC’s primary goal is ensuring the health, safety and security of FDC staff and the inmates in our care and custody.”

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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