DOC suspends in-person visitation due to COVID-19


FILE: Generic jail/prison corridor (Photo credit: Getty)

(WFRV) – Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases across Wisconsin correctional facilities, authorities announced Thursday that they are invoking temporary changes to its visitor policy effective immediately.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), due to the rise in cases, they are making immediate, temporary changes regarding entry into adult facilities.

“DOC has not seen any corresponding increase in serious illness among people in our care, likely due to a combination of the high vaccination rate in our facilities and evidence that this Omicron variant causes less severe disease. However, we feel making these temporary changes is the best way to protect our staff, those in our care, and the communities surrounding our institutions,” shared DOC Secretary Kevin Carr.

Because the DOC expects COVID-19 cases in their facilities to rise in the coming weeks, they are choosing to be proactive and enact the following changes:

  • All in-person visits to inmates across all adult institutions are temporarily suspended
    • Video visits will be allowed
  • Video visits and phone calls with attorney/professional visits will only be allowed
  • Entry for non-DOC staff, except for emergency services and ongoing, necessary facility projects, will be suspended
    • This suspension does not apply to religious volunteers, who will be allowed continued entry to DOC facilities.
    • Those allowed entry under the exception for religious volunteers, emergency services and ongoing, necessary facility projects will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 test upon entrance beginning Jan. 18.

DOC staff noted that offsite medical visits will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and transfers between institutions may be adjusted or suspended on a facility-by-facility basis based on COVID-19 infection rates within each facility.

Furthermore, DOC officials announced that a review and possible lift of these suspensions will take place in early February.

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