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State suspends visitation at all correctional facilities in wake of COVID-19 concerns

Visitation has been suspended at all New York State correctional facilities for four weeks due to COVID-19 concerns, the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision announced Saturday.

Visits are suspended from 5 p.m. March 14 until April 11.

"The Department’s greatest concern is the safety and well-being of our employees and individuals within our care, custody, and supervision, particularly during this developing public health emergency," the DOCCS stated in a release. "To that end, the Department must swiftly impose restrictions and precautions to prevent additional spread of infectious viral transmission of COVID-19 in both correctional facilities and the community writ large."

DOCCS said it will be monitoring the situation "and may extend these restrictions as necessary."

DOCCS oversees 44,000 incarcerated persons in state facilities and 35,000 individuals on community supervision.

The department said it is making "special arrangements" to "encourage individuals to keep in contact with their family and friends during this temporary suspension."

The DOCCS stated it was providing five free stamps per week through its inmate correspondence program, two free secure messages via electronic tablet and one free phone call per week to inmates.

On Thursday, in-person visits were suspended at Erie and Niagara county jails.

Other than attorney visits, in-person visitation suspended at Erie and Niagara jail facilities

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