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How is the State of New Jersey preventing the spread of COVID-19 in state correctional facilities and halfway houses? Can I visit?

Temporary Visitation Suspension

As of March 14, the Department of Corrections is temporarily suspending visits for 30 days. To mitigate the impact of the temporary measure, the Department is increasing access to other forms of communication including:

  • Expanding inmate and resident access to additional phone calls, free-of-charge.
  • Expanding inmate and resident access to additional JPay kiosk usage
  • Providing the inmate and Residential Community Release Program population access to free postage.

Legal visitation is unaffected.

For more information, please refer to this document from the Department of Corrections.

Health Precautions At Correctional Facilities

In consultation with the Department of Health, the Department of Corrections is taking steps to protect those in custody, employees, and visitors from COVID-19. Our medical team trained in infectious disease control is prescribing tests, medical quarantines, and medical isolation as needed in consultation with the New Jersey Department of Health. We are quarantining individuals who have come in contact with a positive case as per CDC guidance. The Department does not have the authority to release individuals from their sentences early.

In terms of social distancing, we have limited foot traffic in facilities, with the implementation of flexible work arrangements for non-essential personnel that includes a reduced and rotational workforce. As it pertains to the incarcerated, group gatherings have been modified or suspended to minimize potential exposure and encourage social distancing. For example, individuals are provided access to religious materials and for the time being are encouraged to practice their faith in their living quarters. Also, educational programs have been adapted in support of independent study, and the Department modified its recreation schedules, limiting the number of individuals.

More information about the steps DOC has taken during this time along with the number of confirmed cases at DOC prisons, halfway houses, and other locations can be found here: https://njdoc.gov/pages/COVID19Updates.shtml

Low-level Offender Release

Certain low-level offenders will be released from county jails to prevent the spread of coronavirus within our correctional system. Individuals participating in this program will have to comply with the same stay-at-home orders as the general public. Additionally, participating individuals will have to return to correctional facilities to complete their sentences at the conclusion of the public health emergency.

For more information, please refer to this page.

Updated/Reviewed: 4/4/2020

Source: https://www.state.nj.us/corrections/pdf/AlertMessage/200312_NJDOC_PreparedAddressCOVID19.pdf