The New York State Department of Corrections is suspending visitations at all state prisons effective Dec. 30, as coronavirus cases surge both inside and outside correctional facilities.
The latest data from the state, last updated on Dec. 24, shows there are 615 incarcerated people in state prisons who are currently sick with COVID-19. An additional 2,138 tests were pending as of last Thursday. DOCCS said it will update testing data on Tuesday, Dec. 29.
"Unfortunately, as a result of the significant increase in COVID-19 infections among the incarcerated population, staff and the surrounding communities, visitation will be temporarily suspended statewide, effective Wednesday, Dec, 30, 2020, at 3:00 p.m.," DOCCS said on its website on Monday. "We recognize that visitation is a vital part of family reunification and therefore, we will resume it when safe to do so."
The Department of Corrections said it will give out 5 free stamps to inmates and is working to "ensure continued access to some free calls and secure messages each week."
Intake of state-ready individuals from county jails was also suspended on Dec. 14 because of the recent uptick in infections. The most recent figures for prison cases can be found on the state DOCCS COVID dashboard.