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Following the State of Emergency issued in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Oregon, the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) has suspended all visiting at all 14 state prisons. This is the first time ODOC has suspended visiting state-wide. This change is effective March 13, 2020 and will be reviewed in 30 days. This restriction will include non-contact visits where people speak to one another through glass. This will also include limiting institution access to only essential staff.
ODOC has no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 at this time. One adult in custody (AIC) has been tested for COVID-19, and the test came back negative.
“All of us at the Oregon Department of Corrections value visiting and especially the connections that visiting affords to family and friends. We know these relationships reduce the risk of future criminal behavior. However, during this State of Emergency, it is critical we take appropriate precautions necessary to protect our employees and those in our care and custody. This decision was not made lightly, and we understand the impact that this necessary action will have on the people in our custody and on their families. We are working hand-in-hand with our state and local partners to keep our institutions as healthy as possible. We will resume normal visiting schedules as soon as humanly possible,” said Director Colette S. Peters.
The Washington Department of Corrections took similar action.
Consistent with DOH guidelines, Corrections is working to implement enhanced screening protocols for all employees/contract staff, incarcerated individuals and others entering DOC facilities and field offices to include taking temperatures and answering screening questionnaires.
Until the Department is able to put those protocols into place, we are taking the following actions effective March 13:
• Suspending visitation at all correctional facilities in Washington, including extended family visits (EFV). Corrections has authorized reimbursement for families scheduled for EFVs;
• Restricting access for all individuals, with the exception of employees/contract staff and legal professionals, to the Monroe Correctional Complex, Washington Corrections Center and Washington Corrections Center for Women; and
• Suspending all tours and events involving four or more outside guests at all facilities.
This situation is constantly evolving. Corrections will provide updates as things changes.