Regular Update

Notice Regarding Testing Procedures for Volunteers and Visitors

Updated February 21, 2023


As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 infection rate in the community and within our correctional facilities, our policies are modified as necessary. Effective beginning of business on February 22, 2023, the previously issued mandatory requirement for all unvaccinated volunteers and all visitors to be provided with an at-home test kit and receive a negative result prior to entering the facility is rescinded.
We will continue to provide an at-home test kit to all visitors participating in the Family Reunion Program as previously required. 
The Department remains committed to protecting the health and safety of staff, volunteers, the incarcerated and parolee populations, as well as visitors.  As we continue to monitor COVID-19, we will issue additional guidance and may reinstate the testing of volunteers and visitors as necessary. 
In September 2022, the Department rescinded the mandatory mask policy for all DOCCS Correctional Facilities. However, masks will continue to be required under the following circumstances:  
  1. when working in isolation/quarantine area(s)
  2. when an employee has been directed to wear a mask because they are in a quarantine status
  3. when an incarcerated individual is in quarantine/isolation status
  4. during all medical encounters (regardless of the reason for the encounter), which includes all planned health care interactions such as infirmary encounters, clinic appointments, and sick call encounters.  
Thank you for your continued patience and compliance with the various COVID-19 safety protocols that have been enacted and modified throughout the pandemic, consistent with guidance from the CDC and the New York State Department of Health.  As we continue to monitor COVID-19, we will issue additional guidance as necessary. 


All approved FRP participants, age 5 and older, must be fully vaccinated to participate. All participants over the age of 5 must provide a copy of their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or a screen shot of their vaccination record via the NYS Excelsior App, documenting that they are fully vaccinated.  Family members can either print the screen shot from the Excelsior App, which proves they have been fully vaccinated, or make a copy of the Official Vaccination Record Card.  Documentation can either be e-mailed to the FRP Offender Rehabilitation Coordinator (ORC) at [email protected], or it can be mailed to the attention of the FRP ORC at the facility where they are participating in the program.  This documentation must be received before a FRP visit can be scheduled.


Incarcerated individuals in quarantine or isolation will not be permitted to visit until they are determined to be recovered.

NOTE:  These provisions are subject to change and visitation could again be suspended should there be an increased infection rate or if conditions change in the community.  
It is critical that we continue to follow the safety protocols that have been put in place for everyone’s safety to stop the continued spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses as follows: 
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Social distance. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, especially before you eat.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze. 
  • Avoid sharing food and utensils.
  • Report any symptoms promptly; 

March 24, 2023




Incarcerated Population





*Of these confirmed cases, 11,879 are now recovered and out of isolation.





Incarcerated Population





NOTE: The official cause of death is determined and released by the County Medical Examiner's Office

DOCCS Confirmed Incarcerated Population By Facility

For security reasons, DOCCS is not disclosing information on the facility where those impacted work or are hospitalized.

With each confirmed case, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) works with the New York State Department of Health to identify any potentially exposed individuals to provide notifications and to stop the spread of the virus. 

The testing process is currently the same for those in prison as it is for those in the community. Our physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, working with our nurses, are following the guidance of the NYS Department of Health and incarcerated individuals are tested when exhibiting symptoms and after a medical evaluation is conducted. In addition, if an incarcerated individual is quarantined (mandatory or precautionary) and has shown symptoms of COVID-19 illness, or if facts and circumstances warrant, as determined by the treating clinician in consultation with state and local department of health officials, they are also isolated and tested.

Our process identifies patients who are ill and require special monitoring and care and isolates those who create the greatest risk of transmission to others. Asymptomatic patients who wear a mask and follow social distancing and hand hygiene guidelines have minimal risk to others. A nurse will swab the individual and that swab is then sent to an authorized lab. As we await the results, the individual is isolated. If an individual’s test result is positive that person is maintained in isolation for a minimum of 10 days.



In its history, the Department has successfully managed infectious outbreaks, such as tuberculosis, AIDS, and Hepatitis C. DOCCS maintains a comprehensive Pandemic Flu protocol that has been modified for COVID-19.

DOCCS retains supplies, equipment and other resources that are being made available, as needed, for impacted correctional facilities during the spread of this infectious disease. As with the occurrence of any widespread public health threat, the Department is involved in ongoing discussions and preparations, including protocol review and emergency supply inventory to ensure that the Department’s policies and procedures are as up to date as possible. The Department also has negative air flow isolation rooms and Regional Medical Units.

Emergency control plans are in place at each facility and regularly reviewed.  Each plan is uniquely designed to meet that facility’s needs. These plans include preparedness measures, response mechanisms, and short- and long-term recovery provisions. The Department has been and continues conducting table-top exercises to prepare for additional positive cases.

The Department employs medical staff specially trained in infection control in facilities across the state and has plans for each facility to implement to deal with significant staff absences.

In addition, a COVID-19 Task Force has been created and meets regularly to monitor and assess all actions and potential actions in response to this public health crisis. The Department’s executive team has consistent communication with all Facility Supervising Superintendents, Superintendents, as well as Community Supervision Regional Directors and Assistant Regional Directors as a means of monitoring in real time all COVID-19 related issues that arise within the system. 

Ongoing communication is delivered to staff and incarcerated individuals on preventative measures to stay healthy, including the top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health recommendations, as well as cleaning guidelines issued by the New York State Office of General Services.

What DOCCS Is Doing

The Department takes the continued spread of this global health emergency seriously and shares the same concerns as staff, incarcerated individuals, and their loved ones.

Our focus is ensuring that the hardworking men and women of this Department, as well as our incarcerated and formerly incarcerated populations, are healthy and safe. Just as we have successfully managed infectious outbreaks in the past, we have emergency protocols in place and have proactively made adjustments in our facilities and community supervision offices in an attempt to limit any outbreaks.

Each action we take in response to the spread of COVID-19 is done in the best interest of those who work and are incarcerated in our facilities or supervised in the community. We will continue to evaluate all options as this situation unfolds.

Here are some of the measures DOCCS has initiated to ensure the safety and well-being of staff, incarcerated individuals, and parolees:

  • Supplying incarcerated individuals subject to isolation and quarantine with surgical-type masks.
  • Working with phone and tablet vendors to ensure continued access to some weekly free calls and secure messages for the incarcerated population
  • Expanding offerings to the incarcerated population through the general population tablet program.
  • Displaying posters with information on COVID-19 and safety tips throughout DOCCS facilities and offices statewide.
  • Regularly showing a video to the incarcerated population and staff at the facilities on proper hand washing.
  • Issuing enhanced cleaning/sanitizing measures and disinfecting procedures for office surfaces and devices consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State Department of Health guidelines, including working with landlords to ensure cleaning protocols are followed under the appropriate guidelines with increased frequency throughout offices especially high-risk areas and issuing appropriate protocols on how to clean vehicles.

COVID-19 Protocols


Additional Phone and Tablet Services
Effective September 1, 2021

The Department recognizes the importance of family and the ability for the incarcerated population to communicate with them.  As a result, instead of eliminating all of the free services provided during the height of COVID on August 31, 2021, we have renegotiated our existing phone contract, and are in the process of doing the same with our tablet contract, to permanently provide a number of free calls and secure messages for each incarcerated individual per month and at the same time, reduce the overall per minute calling rate and stamp cost.  Effective September 1, 2021, the free reply Wednesday and the newsstand offering will be discontinued, and the following provisions will take effect:

  • Domestic Per Minute Call Rate - The domestic per minute call rate and total cost per minute rate will be reduced from $.0430 per minute to $.0399 per minute; and
  • Free Calls - Each incarcerated individual will receive one free 15-minute call per week that will be made available every Saturday at 7:00 a.m. and will be associated with the first call made during each week.  The free call will not carry forward from week to week.
  • Stamp Price Reduction – The single stamp price will be reduced from $.33 per stamp to $.25 per stamp for single purchases, with stamp bundles being similarly reduced from $.23 to $.17 per stamp for a bundle of 100 stamps.
  • Free Stamps - Each incarcerated individual with access to a general confinement tablet and kiosk will receive four (4) free stamps to use for secure messaging per month.  (The stamps are not available for use while an individual is serving a disciplinary confinement sanction)  Stamps are added to your account on the first of each month and the incarcerated individual will have the full month to utilize the stamps.  The stamps do not accumulate from month to month.


The Board of Parole is continuing to conduct interviews and issuing determinations. Decisions will continue to be issued within two weeks of the interview date.


COVID-19 Resources

For more information on COVID-19 and New York’s response, visit the following websites


New York on PAUSE
NYS on pause
New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Tracker

DOH COVID-19 Tracker

New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Webpage

DOH Covid-19 info

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Webpage