Wisconsin state prisons to allow visitors again starting July 6

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin Prisons will allow in-person visits again beginning July 6, according to the Department of Corrections (DOC). 

The new visitation guidelines were changed to virtual visits due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

“We are very happy to again offer in-person visits,” said DOC Sec. Kevin Carr. “Soon after the pandemic began, we transitioned to video visits as a way to protect our staff, persons in our care and Wisconsin communities. Now, with COVID-19 infection numbers down and vaccination rates up, those in our care and their loved ones can again enjoy each other’s company face-to-face.”

People on approved visitors’ lists are eligible for visits. Three approved people will be allowed during a visit, and everyone will be required to wear a mask. 

Visitors do not need to be vaccinated. 

According to the DOC, COVID-19 dashboards indicate only 11 active cases currently among the more than 19,000 people in the department’s custody across 37 institutions; The dashboards show 57% of DOC’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and more than 90% of those who have not declining vaccination have received at least one dose.

“Vaccination is an incredible tool against COVID-19,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “The level of vaccination rates we are seeing in DOC institutions and Wisconsin communities allows in-person visitation to resume safely in these facilities, with precautions in place.”

The DOC will continue to offer video visits and two free phone calls a week until it returns to pre-pandemic operations. 

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