DIXON – In-person visits are resuming at state prisons, starting today at East Moline Correctional Center and Monday at the Dixon prison and others, the Illinois Department of Corrections said in a news release Monday.
In-person visits were banned on March 14, 2020, to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the lockups, where it is difficult to keep inmates socially distanced.
The prisons and other IDOC facilities, such as its treatment centers, are being opened on a staggered schedule, some on Monday, some on April 26, and the rest on May 3.
“With most people in IDOC custody now vaccinated, the Department’s Office of Health Services and Operations Unit worked closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health to develop a multiphase plan for resuming in-person visits in the safest manner possible,” IDOC said in a news release.
“Maintaining family connection is a vital component of an incarcerated person’s mental and emotional well-being,” IDOC Acting Director Rob Jeffreys said in the release.
“Because of the aggressive measures the Department has taken to mitigate COVID-19 within our facilities, IDOC is one of the few correctional systems in the nation now reopening to visitors.”
According to the IDOC website, of the 35 state prisons and of those on parole, Dixon Correctional Center has had the fourth-highest number of confirmed inmate cases, 596, and the third-highest number of staff infections, 290. Eleven staff members and two inmates have active cases as of today.
Systemwide, 4,365 staff members and 10, 859 inmates have tested positive for the virus; 87 staffers and 31 inmates have active cases.
When the prisons open, all visitors will be screened for symptoms, including getting temperature checks, and provided a surgical mask.
Plastic barriers have been installed on visiting tables, which are spaced apart to allow for social distancing. Visiting rooms and restrooms will be deep cleaned between visits, IDOC said in the release.
IDOC also is utilizing an online system to schedule visits and limit the number of visitors permitted at one time.
Visitation start dates:
Today: East Moline Correctional Center
April 19: Graham, Taylorville, Jacksonville, Dixon, Centralia, and Stateville Correctional Centers; Stateville Northern Reception Center; Fox Valley, Crossroads and North Lawndale ATCs; Elgin Treatment Center
April 26: Pinckneyville, Sheridan, Big Muddy River, Pontiac, Shawnee, Vienna, Hill, Lawrence, Illinois River, Robinson, and Vandalia Correctional Centers; Joliet Treatment Center; Peoria ATC; Kewanee and Murphysboro Life Skills re-entry centers
May 3: Southwestern Illinois, Decatur, Logan, Lincoln, Western Illinois, Danville, and Menard correctional centers
Go to www2.illinois.gov for more information.
Source: The Daily Chronicle