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Federal, state prisons suspend visitation to mitigate coronavirus spread

Federal, state prisons suspend visitation to mitigate coronavirus spread

From the Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: 665 cases in Arizona, COVID-19 deaths in Pima County rise to 4 series
Arizona State Prison

An education program at an Arizona state prison in Tucson.

Arizona Department of Corrections jails, prisons and reentry and rehabilitation centers statewide suspended visitation for 30 days Friday evening, officials said.

While the department currently does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any of its facilities, they are stopping visitation to mitigate the potential spread of the virus, the Arizona Department of Corrections said in a news release.

The suspension includes facilities operated by third-parties and includes non-contact visits, the news release said. After 30 days, the department will reevaluate the suspension. In Tucson, the policy affects the state prison near Interstate 10 and South Wilmot Road.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons also suspended visitation for 30 days, affecting the federal prison in Tucson near the state prison. In the federal prison, inmates are being allowed an additional 200 minutes of phone time while the temporary visitation policy remains in place, according to the bureau’s website. Visits from lawyers have also been suspended, with accommodation made on a case-by-case basis at the local level, the website said.

At the federal level, visitation suspension also applies to volunteers and contractors. Inmate transfers have also been suspended for 30 days, the website says.

County jail and correctional facilities have not changed their policies as all visitation is done via video, said Deputy Marissa Hernandez, spokeswoman for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Contact reporter Stephanie Casanova at scasanova@tucson.com. On Twitter: @CasanovaReports

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