Inmate visitation to cease across state prisons

Staff Writer

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is canceling all visitation and all volunteer access to facilities effective at 6 p.m. today. This decision is necessary to keep staff, inmates and volunteers safe from the spread of COVID-19 inside a facility.

ODOC is taking a number of proactive steps to prevent introduction and spread of COVID-19 inside facilities, closely adhering to guidelines set by the American Correctional Association, Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The agency is utilizing its “Management of Pandemic Influenza” procedure (MSRM-140118-02) as the basis for developing a specific, comprehensive response to COVID-19. Steps include screening all new inmate arrivals for symptoms of COVID-19 and suspending all inmate security movements. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

ODOC understands the importance of inmates connecting with family members. The agency is working to expand options to allow such interaction.

Each week, the agency director will reassess the need to keep visitors and volunteers from entering facilities. For the most up-to-date information, the public can call 405-425-2556 to hear a recorded message. The public can also follow ODOC’s website and social media platforms for updates.

The agency continues to work closely with OSDH and emergency officials as they respond and manage Oklahoma’s response to the COVID-19 virus.

Numerous other states’ corrections departments are similarly restricting access to prisons in order to keep staff, inmates and volunteers safe from the spread of COVID-19.

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