DOCCS wants the visiting experience to be family friendly and positive. The Department has Visitor Hospitality Centers that provide shelter and respite for visiting families and friends prior to entering the facility. Restrooms, a baby changing station, lockers for storing personal belongings, and information concerning rules and regulations pertaining to visitation, including packages for incarcerated individuals, are available.
To ensure the safety of family, friends who are visiting, as well as our facilities staff and the incarcerated population, visits are subject to DOCCS rules. To help address questions you may have about visitations, DOCCS has prepared a variety of resources.
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all visitors to be provided with an at-home test kit and receive a negative result prior to entering the facility is rescinded.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In September 2022, the Department rescinded the mandatory mask policy for all DOCCS Correctional Facilities.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:
when working in isolation/quarantine area(s)
when an employee has been directed to wear a mask because they are in a quarantine status
when an incarcerated individual is in quarantine/isolation status
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.
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;
Packages and articles will only be allowed to be received directly from vendors via U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, etc. Packages will no longer be allowed to be brought to the facility during visits or mailed directly to the facility from family or friends. Department Directive #4911 – Packages & Articles Sent to Facilities – outlines these changes.
Things You Should Know
DOCCS provides educational programs,vocational training, library services, counseling, and treatment services.
DOCCS provides continuous Temporary Release programs and transitional services to assist with reintegration.
DOCCS provides opportunities for religious practices, family services, and volunteer programs at each facility.