Visits To Restart At Mississippi Prisons, With Covid Safety

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi prisons will reopen to visitors on Nov. 1 after being closed in late July when the state was seeing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain said Thursday.

Mississippi's coronavirus transmission rate has decreased in recent weeks.

“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," Cain said in a news release. "We’re trying to return to normal, but not too fast.”

Visitors will have to follow safety protocols, including having their temperature checked and answering screening questions at entry. They will have to wear masks and maintain social distance. Inmates will have to have their temperature checked and wear masks.

Deputy Commissioner of Institutions Jeworski Mallett said the decision to reopen visitation was based on discussions with state health officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and medical providers for the Department of Corrections. He said the department also reviewed state health statistics.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections began giving COVID-19 vaccinations to inmates in March.

“COVID cases are trending down and we feel visitation is safe for inmates with the COVID protocols we have in place,” Mallett said in the news release Thursday.

Louisiana started reopening prisons to visitors this week, with pandemic precautions.