DOCCS indefinitely suspends visitation statewide
WENY-TV is reporting the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has announced it is temporarily suspending social visitations at prisons statewide, effective 3 p.m., Wed., Dec. 30. DOCCS officials said the decision was made due to a significant increase of COVID-19 infections among the incarcerated, DOCCS staff, and in the communities surrounding the state's prisons. According to the DOCCS website, imprisoned people will be given five free stamps for general correspondence, and it will work to ensure continued access to "some free calls and secure messages each week." The agency did not provide an exact timeline, but said it will continue to monitor infection rates and visitations will resume when it is safe to do so. All non-contact legal visits will be permitted under previously announced protocols. According to a statement released Tuesday, by Alliance of Families for Justice, in March DOCCS suspended visits for five months. "The suspension was devastating for families. The Family Reunion Program was never reinstated. The children's play areas were never reopened. And, since March 2020 incarcerated people have not been able to get married. Now, visits are again suspended," the Alliance said. DOCCS is responsible for the confinement and care of approximately 54,700 people at 52 correctional facilities located statewide.