Delaware's inmates will be able to receive in-person visitation privileges before the end of the month, officials announced Friday.
The Delaware Department of Correction has announced it is temporarily suspending visitation …
According to Department of Correction Commissioner Claire DeMatteis, visits scheduled in advance will be allowed on Monday, June 29, 2020. Registration for these visits will open June 22, and can be completed online.
Inmates have been denied in-person visitation since March 11, at the start of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. But the department issued a report "highlighting its comprehensive effort to contain the disease in the state's correctional system," which can be seen below:
While the DOC expanded its video and phone visitations during the pandemic, even introducing video options at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution for the first time, officials said that access will continue in the immediate future as in-person visitations are re-introduced.
"Over the past three months we have worked effectively to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and thanks to our extensive screening, cleaning, monitoring, testing, and tracing efforts we currently have only one inmate with the illness across our entire correctional system," said Commissioner Claire DeMatteis. "Meanwhile 140 inmates, many of whom remained asymptomatic at all times, have fully recovered. As a result, we are prepared to cautiously restart in-person visitation on June 29. We must take the ongoing threat of COVID-19 seriously and this is not the time to let our guard down. We will continue our aggressive proactive measures to guard against infection and spread of this disease in all of our facilities."
In a cautious approach to this re-introduction, visitations will be limited to one adult visitor per inmate, per visit, and all visitors will be required to wear a face mask issued by the DOC.
The department will also require the following:
- All visitors will be screened when entering the facility, which will include a series of questions about their medical condition and whether they have had any direct or indirect contact with someone who has been tested for COVID-19 or is in quarantine. Screenings will also include a forehead temperature check with a thermometer.
- All visitors will be required to fully complete and sign a disclaimer form before the visit begins stating that they have not tested positive for COVID-19, have no symptoms of COVID-19, and have had no direct or indirect contact with someone who has been tested for COVID-19 or is in quarantine.
- Visitors will not be permitted to enter any DOC facility if they have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not received a letter to discontinue isolation from the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), have had any symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 30 days, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste, loss of smell, or other flu-like symptoms, and have had any direct or indirect contact with someone who has been tested for COVID-19 or has been in quarantine within the past 14 days.
- All visitors must immediately notify DOC if they test positive for COVID-19 after their visit so that contact tracing can be initiated by the DOC, in collaboration with public health officials.
Plexiglass barriers and hand sanitizer will also be required and present to aid in reducing the spread of the virus.