The Daily Item
In-person visitation will resume at four additional state prisons over the next two weeks, including at SCI-Coal Township.
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary John Wetzel announced Monday that four facilities have finalized plans to reimplement in-person visitation, including SCI Coal Township, SCI Benner Township, SCI Pine Grove, and SCI Greene.
On-site visits to DOC facilities were suspended on March 13, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Decisions regarding the reinstatement of in-person visitation at each location are based on inmate vaccination rates, percentage of COVID-19 cases among the inmate population, and results from the DOC’s wastewater testing program that monitors for elevated levels of the COVID-19 virus.
The DOC had previously opened five locations for visitation in May, including SCI Muncy, 10 more in June and how seven in July.
SCI Coal Township will resume in-person visitation on July 26.
According to DOC officials, visits must be scheduled online at least three days in advance. To comply with reduced visiting room capacity limits, visitors who arrive at a facility without an appointment will be turned away. Available visitation timeslots are determined by each facility, based on an inmate’s housing location within the prison. Each visit will be at least one hour in duration. No-cost video visits remain an option for people to connect with incarcerated loved ones.
Information on scheduling an in-person or video visit and the reopening of DOC facilities is available at cor.pa.gov. Visitors may begin scheduling in-person visits via the inmate visitation system seven days before the start date. Dates are subject to change.
Established visiting rules remain in effect. Visitors are also required to complete a COVID-19 questionnaire and temperature screening. All inmates and visitors ages 2 and older are issued a disposable facemask, which must be worn for the duration of the visit. Visiting rooms have been configured in a way that allows for social distancing between each visiting group. Visits can be canceled by the facility if the rules are not followed.