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Coronavirus Published 03.17.2020 Updated 1:45 P.M. 12.08.2021

How Prisons in Each State Are Restricting Visits Due to Coronavirus

As COVID-19 began spreading in 2020, prison facilities across the country suspended visits from family and lawyers. Over the course of the pandemic, states have eased and tightened those restrictions. We’re rounding up the changes as they occur.

Have you tried to visit a person in prison or jail recently? Tell us about it here.

47 corrections systems have resumed visitation with additional precautions and limits

Regular visits suspended, but legal visits allowed

Visits resumed with limitations

Alabama

On Oct. 9, 2021, Alabama began to reopen a small group of prisons for limited visitation, and the rest . All visitation had been suspended starting March 13, 2020.

Learn more from Alabama →

Alaska

On April 30, 2021, Alaska reopened most of its prisons to visitors with some restricitons, including mandating the wearing of masks. All visitation, including legal visits, were suspended on March 13, 2020. On March 17, 2021, in-person visits with attorneys resumed.

Learn more from Alaska →

Arizona

On June 19, 2021, Arizona began to reopen its prisons to visitation for vaccinated prisoners. Personal visits had been suspended since March 13, 2020, and legal visits were stopped as well.

Learn more from Arizona →

Arkansas

All visitation, including legal visits, was suspended on March 16, 2020. In December, Arkansas reopened for some visits but closed again within a few weeks. On March 6, 2021, limited visits resumed in four facilities and later expanded in June to all prisons.

Learn more from Arkansas →

California

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation resumed in-person visits on April 10, 2021. Wardens of individual prisons could determine whether to reopen based on the number of active caess at their faciliites. Normal visitation was first suspended on March 13, 2020, and legal visits on April 7.

Learn more from California →

Colorado

On May 4, 2021, Colorado began to allow limited visitation at some of its facilities and expanded it across the system later in the month. In October 2021, the state began to require visitors to show proof of vaccination before being allowed to enter the prisons. Personal visits were initially suspended on March 11, 2020. Legal visits are allowed, but they will be non-contact visits.

Learn more from Colorado →

Connecticut

Personal visits were suspended on March 13, 2020. Legal visits were allowed, but officials strongly recommend communicating by phone instead. On Oct. 15, 2020, Connecticut began to resume limited, pre-scheduled, non-contact visits.

Learn more from Connecticut →

Delaware

Personal visits resumed on March 16, 2021, with restrictions. Visitation was first suspended on March 12, 2020. Visits resumed briefly in late June and then again in early September, but in November, they were stopped amid rapidly increasing spread of the coronavirus in the state.

Learn more from Delaware →

District of Columbia

Washington, D.C., sends its prisoners to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where all visitation, including legal visits, were suspended on March 13, 2020, though attorneys could be approved for an in-person visit on a case-by-case basis. On Oct. 3, some federal prisons began to reopen for non-contact personal visits, with restrictions.

Learn more from District of Columbia →

Florida

Personal visits were suspended on March 11, 2020, but legal visits were allowed. On Oct. 2, Florida began to allow limited visits with some restrictions.

Learn more from Florida →

Georgia

All visitation, including legal visits, were suspended on March 13, 2020. On April 3, 2021, personal visits resumed with restricitons, such as one visit per prisoner every other month.

Learn more from Georgia →

Idaho

On June 12, 2021, personal visits began to resume at some Idaho prisons. They had been suspended since March 13, 2020. Legal visits were allowed, but officials strongly recommended communicating by phone instead.

Learn more from Idaho →

Illinois

On April 12, 2021, limited visitation resumed at one prison in Illinois and expanded to more than 10 additional facillities a week later. Personal visits were initially suspended on March 14, 2020.

Learn more from Illinois →

Indiana

Non-contact personal visits began again on Aug. 30, 2021 after being suspended since March 11, 2020. Legal visits had been allowed, but attorneys were screened upon arrival for contact visits.

Learn more from Indiana →

Iowa

Personal visits resumed on July 10, 2021 after being suspended since March 14, 2020. Legal visits were allowed during the suspension.

Learn more from Iowa →

Kansas

Personal visits resumed in Kansas on April 18, 2021 with limitations, after being suspended since March 12, 2020. Legal visits had been allowed, but officials strongly recommend communicating by phone or in writing.

Learn more from Kansas →

Kentucky

Limited personal visits began again on June 21, 2021, after being suspended since March 14, 2020. Legal visits had been allowed, but non-contact visits were strongly encouraged and attorneys could be screened upon arrival.

Learn more from Kentucky →

Louisiana

Louisiana began to allow personal visits in its prisons on Oct. 18, 2021. They had been halted on on July 27, 2021 after reopening in March, one year after they were originally suspended due to the coronavirus on March 12, 2020.

Learn more from Louisiana →

Maine

Personal visits were suspended on March 12, 2020, but legal visits were allowed. Limited, non-contact visits resumed in several Maine prisons on March 18, 2021. Visits had begun in July of 2020 but were suspended again on Nov. 1.

Learn more from Maine →

Maryland

Maryland's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services began to permit personal visits on July 19, 2021. Personal visits had been suspended since March 12, 2020, but legal visits were allowed.

Learn more from Maryland →

Massachusetts

On May 1, 2021, Massachusetts began to reopen visitation at three prisons, with more added in the following days. Personal visits were first suspended on March 13, 2020 and resumed with limits in July. On Nov. 14, 2020, the prisons again halted visits amid rising coronavirus cases. Legal visits were allowed.

Learn more from Massachusetts →

Michigan

Personal visits were suspended on March 13, 2020, but legal visits were allowed. On March 26, 2021, limited personal visits resumed at some Michigan prisons that were not in quarantine.

Learn more from Michigan →

Minnesota

Personal visits were suspended on March 12, 2020. Legal visits were allowed, but they will not be face-to-face visits. On July 22, 2020, the state resumed limited personal visits at prisons that did not had two positive cases in the previous two weeks. On Nov. 30, the last prison was closed to visitors due to a rise in cases. On Jan. 6, 2021, visitation resumed at some Minnesota prisons.

Learn more from Minnesota →

Mississippi

Mississippi reopened its prisons for personal visits on Nov. 1, 2021. They had been barred originally on March 12, 2020 and had resumed in May of 2021, only to have them stopped again in late July 2021 due to rising concerns about the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Learn more from Mississippi →

Missouri

Personal visits for prisoners who are fully vaccinated resumed on June 1, 2021. They had initially been suspended March 12, 2020, but legal visits were allowed. On June 25, 2020, visits resumed with some precautions, and as many as five prisons at a time reopened through the summer and fall. On Dec. 30, 2020, visits were suspended in all prisons while the rollout of vaccines began.

Learn more from Missouri →

Montana

On April 24, 2021, Montana began to reopen its prisons with some restrictions, including requiring visitors to wear masks. Personal and legal visits were suspended on March 13, 2020.

Learn more from Montana →

Nebraska

On Dec. 15, 2020, limited visitation resumed at five prisons and at all facilities on Jan. 6. Personal visits were first suspended on March 16, 2020. Legal visits were allowed, but attorneys were screened on entry. On July 15, a limited number of non-contact visits began for those who pre-registered, but visits were again suspended on Aug. 7.

Learn more from Nebraska →

Nevada

On May 1, 2021, Nevada reopened its prisons to visitors, with limits on capacity. All visitation, including legal visits, had been suspended since March 7, 2020.

Learn more from Nevada →

New Hampshire

All visitation, including legal visits, were suspended on March 16, 2020. Starting on Aug. 10, limited personal and attorney visits resumed.

Learn more from New Hampshire →

New Jersey

New Jersey began to allow limited outdoor visits on May 1, 2021 and later expanded to indoor visits. Personal visits were originally suspended on March 10, 2020, but legal visits were allowed. On Oct. 9, 2020, outdoor visits resumed but were then suspended again on Dec. 8.

Learn more from New Jersey →

New Mexico

On June 14, 2021, New Mexico reopened limited, non-contact visits for vaccinated prisoners and vaccinated visitors. All visits, including contact, non-contact and legal visits had been suspended since March 16, 2020.

Learn more from New Mexico →

New York

On April 28, 2021, New York's Department of Corrections and Community Supervision resumed non-contact personal visits, starting with maximum security prisons. Visitation was originally suspended on March 14, 2020 though legal visits were allowed. On Aug. 6, 2020visitation began to resume, but on Dec. 30, personal visits were stopped again at all prisons statewide.

Learn more from New York →

North Carolina

Personal visits were suspended on March 13, 2020, but legal and pastoral visits were allowed. On Oct. 1, North Carolina began to allow visits with significant restrictions.

Learn more from North Carolina →

North Dakota

All contact visits were suspended on March 12, 2020. Visits began in June of 2020 and were later suspended in July. On March 29, 2021, visits resumed.

Learn more from North Dakota →

Ohio

Personal visits were suspended on March 12, 2020. Legal visits were allowed, and attorneys were screened on entry. On July 8, outdoor visits began at some prisons. By Oct. 30, however, all of the prisons were closed to visitors again. On Feb. 16, 2021 visitation resumed at some facilities.

Learn more from Ohio →

Oklahoma

Visitation was suspended on March 13, 2020, and legal visits were allowed. Limited visitation resumed in June 5, but was later cancelled again amid another wave of infections in the fall. Oklahoma reopened for visits with restrictions on April 1, 2021.

Learn more from Oklahoma →

Oregon

All visitation, including legal visits, were suspended on March 12, 2020. On March 29, 2021, Oregon began a pilot program allowing limited, non-contact visits at one prison but later halted the program on April 28, 2021. The program began again on June 14, 2021 and expanded to other facilities.

Learn more from Oregon →

Pennsylvania

Personal visits began to resume in Pennsylvania prisons on May 22, 2021. They had been suspended since March 13, 2020, but legal visits are allowed. Legal visitation was suspended for one day, March 13.

Learn more from Pennsylvania →

Rhode Island

On April 14, 2021, Rhode Island's Department of Corrections resumed non-contact visits with some restrictions. All visitation, including legal visits, had been suspended on March 11, 2020. On Aug. 12, visits with attorneys resumed.

Learn more from Rhode Island →

South Carolina

Personal visits began to resume for vaccinated prisoners at some South Carolina prisons on June 19, 2021. They had been suspended since March 13, 2020, but legal visits were allowed.

Learn more from South Carolina →

South Dakota

Visitation was suspended since March 12, 2020, but legal visits were allowed. On March 8, 2021, non-contact personal visits started again, with new restrictions and health guidelines.

Learn more from South Dakota →

Tennessee

On April 10, 2021, the Tennessee Department of Correction reopened for limited visitation. Personal visits were suspended on March 12, 2020, as were legal visits, though wardens could grant special requests for in-person access. On Oct. 3, 2020, Tennessee reopened three prisons for limited visitation and later a fourth. On Dec. 1, 2020, visitation at all prisons was again suspended.

Learn more from Tennessee →

Texas

Personal visits were suspended on March 13, 2020. On March 15, 2021, personal visits began again, with restrictions. Visitors must take a rapid coronavirus test before being admitted.

Learn more from Texas →

Utah

Personal visits began again on June 18, 2021. They had been suspended since March 12, 2020. Non-contact legal visits were allowed.

Learn more from Utah →

Virginia

On Sept. 1, 2021, Virginia began to open some of its prisons to outside visitors, starting with nine facilities and later expanding to more. Personal visits had been suspended since March 13, 2020, as were attorney visits, which resumed July 15, 2021.

Learn more from Virginia →

Washington

Non-contact personal visits resumed on May 9, 2021. They had been suspended since March 12, 2020, but legal visits were allowed.

Learn more from Washington →

Wisconsin

On July 6, 2021, Wisconsin resumed personal visits, which had been suspended since March 13, 2020.

Learn more from Wisconsin →

Federal

All visitation, including legal visits, were suspended by the Federal Bureau of Prisons on March 13, 2020, though attorneys could be approved for an in-person visit on a case-by-case basis. On Oct. 3, some federal prisons began to reopen for non-contact personal visits, with restrictions.

Learn more from Federal →

This is produced in partnership with the Associated Press.

Sources State prison systems

Graphic by Katie Park and Tom Meagher

Reporting by Cary Aspinwall, Keri Blakinger, Jake Bleiberg, Andrew R. Calderón, Maurice Chammah, Andrew DeMillo, Eli Hager, Jamiles Lartey, Claudia Lauer, Nicole Lewis, Weihua Li, Humera Lodhi, Colleen Long, Tom Meagher, Joseph Neff, Alysia Santo, Beth Schwartzapfel, Damini Sharma, Colleen Slevin, Christie Thompson, Abbie VanSickle and Andrew Welsh-Huggins

Additional development by Gabe Isman