Pennsylvania

Pa. Prisons to Implement Modified Virtual Visits Amid Coronavirus

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What to Know

  • The Pennsylvania prison system is rolling out modified video visiting procedures designed to make it simpler to schedule the online meetings between inmates and their families and others amid coronavirus.
  • Video visitation has been done since March, but this will make it possible to set up the free online visits without necessarily involving prison system staff directly.
  • Six visitors, all approved beforehand by the Corrections Department, can participate in each call.

The Pennsylvania prison system is rolling out modified video visiting procedures designed to make it simpler to schedule the online meetings between inmates and their families and others.

The Corrections Department plans to let people who are already on inmate visiting lists start scheduling future virtual visits as of Wednesday.

Video visitation has been done since March, but this will make it possible to set up the free online visits without necessarily involving prison system staff directly.

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To ease the transition, there will be no virtual visits on Aug. 31, the day before the new system goes live on Sept. 1.

Virtual visits under the new system must be scheduled at least three days ahead of time, and no more than two months in advance. Six visitors, all approved beforehand by the Corrections Department and all already on the inmate's visiting list, can participate in each call.

The prison system does not expect to resume in-person visits until the risk of infection from the coronavirus has diminished. Officials say the virtual visits are expected to continue even after the pandemic is over.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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