6 Things to know about COVID-19 and visiting prisoners
- Kate Mitchell
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COVID-19 has impacted Correctional Service Canada’s visiting procedures. Below are a few points to remember before visiting:
- Not all prisons are allowing visits. Depending on local transmission, some institutions may not be allowing visitors. Check online to see whether the prison you plan to visit is allowing visitors. Prisons may be put on lock down at any time, so check before leaving home.
- Visits need to be booked in advance. Generally, they need to be booked at least 48 hours in advance.
- Visitors have to answer screening questions. Visitors will be asked if they are feeling ill, have travelled outside Canada in the last 14 days, or have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 (suspected or confirmed). Visitors who answer yes will be denied entry.
- Extra precautions are also in place. Visitors are required to wear masks and to have their temperature checked before entry, in addition to the normal entrance requirements (signing in, ION SCAN testing, etc.). Visitors are also expected to stay 2 meters from the prisoner they are visiting.
- Visits may be limited. Due to capacity constraints, visitors may be permitted only one visit per week. Prisoners are allowed to visit no more than 3 people at a time.
- Certain areas and services may be unavailable. Vending machines and play areas are generally off limits, and visitors may be limited in what items they can bring in and store in lockers.