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Prison Visitations In Florida To Resume In October

prison bars
Emiliano Bar
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Putting safety measures in place to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Florida Department of Corrections plans to resume allowing visitors at state prisons on Oct. 2.

Corrections Secretary Mark Inch announced the move in a video released Friday, though he did not detail the safety measures.

“Starting Oct. 2, we will be resuming visitation at institutions where it is safe and appropriate to do so,” Inch said. “Visitation will look much different than before. Numerous safety measures will be in place, and interactions with your loved ones will be modified.

”We understand how important in-person visitation is for maintaining family bonds but also want to minimize the risk to our incarcerated population. I am confident we can move forward safely with a careful approach.”

The state stopped visitation in March.

As of Friday, 15,812 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19, and 117 had died. Also, 2,836 workers in the corrections system had tested positive.

Three prisons reported having at least 10 deaths.

The department releases information on deaths of inmates who tested positive for the coronavirus, regardless of the cause of death.

Also, the Florida Department of Health released numbers showing 17 deaths of inmates at South Florida Reception Center, 10 deaths of inmates at Dade Correctional Institution and 10 deaths of inmates at the Reception and Medical Center.

Other prisons with large numbers of inmate deaths included:

  • Columbia Correctional Institution, with eight.
  • Blackwater Correctional Facility, with seven.
  • Suwannee Correctional Institution, with seven.
  • Everglades Correctional Institution, with six.
  • Graceville Correctional Facility, with six.
  • South Bay Correctional Facility, with six.

The Department of Health numbers do not include three additional deaths reported Thursday.