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Coronavirus Published 03.17.2020 Updated 10:15 A.M. 07.30.2021

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.

3 corrections systems have suspended all visitation
41 corrections systems have resumed visitation with additional precautions and limits

All visits suspended

Alabama

All visitation, including legal visits, has been suspended since March 13, 2020. Urgent legal meetings are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Mississippi

On July 27, 2021, Mississippi again barred all visitors to protect against the delta variant of the coronavirus. Personal visits had resumed in May after being suspended since March 12, 2020.

Virginia

Personal visits have been suspended since March 13, 2020. Legal visits are also suspended.

Regular visits suspended, but legal visits allowed

Visits resumed with limitations

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Personal visits were initially suspended on March 11, 2020. Legal visits are allowed, but they will be non-contact visits.

Connecticut

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Iowa

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Minnesota

Personal visits were suspended on March 12, 2020. Legal visits are allowed, but they will not be face-to-face visits. On July 22, the state resumed limited personal visits at prisons that have 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.

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, visits were suspended in all prisons while the rollout of vaccines began.

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.

Nebraska

On Dec. 15, 2021, 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.

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.

New Hampshire

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

New Jersey

New Jersey began to allow limited outdoor visits on May 1, 2021. 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.

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.

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.

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.

North Dakota

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

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, visitation resumed at some facilities.

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.

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.

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.

Rhode Island

On April 14, 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.

South Carolina

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

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.

Tennessee

On April 10, 2021, the Tennessee Department of Correction reopened 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, Tennessee reopened three prisons for limited visitation and later a fourth. On Dec. 1, visitation at all prisons was again suspended.

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.

Utah

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

Washington

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

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