Mississippi prisons reopen to visitation

Published 11:33 am Thursday, October 21, 2021

JACKSON — Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain has announced all state prisons will reopen to visitation beginning Nov. 1, ending a three-month moratorium.

MDOC stopped visitation on July 27 because of the spike in Mississippi’s COVID cases.

Deputy Commissioner of Institutions Jeworski Mallett said, “The decision is based on discussions with State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, community data from the Mississippi Department of Health and MDOC Medical Providers, as well as MDOC’s vaccine administration at each facility. COVID cases are trending down and we feel visitation is safe for inmates with the COVID protocols we have in place.”

Those protocols include requiring visitors to social distance, wear masks, have their temperatures checked at entry points and answer a series of Covid-19 screening questions prior to entry. Inmates will also have to wear masks and be checked for temperature. Visitation areas will be sanitized with electrostatic sprayers and will have hand-sanitizing stations.

Cain said, “Given the drop in COVID cases, it is appropriate and beneficial for inmates to be able to see their relatives and reopening will also allow for them to participate in more programs. We’re trying to return to normal but not too fast. Fortunately, we had some of the lowest rates of inmate COVID cases in the nation and it’s because we took the initiative to sanitize and vaccinate.”