The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) encourages visits by family and friends, which can be a positive influence during the time a person spends in prison and after their release. Research shows that incarcerated individuals who receive regular visits adjust much better once they are released from prison when the privilege is used to maintain positive relationships.
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.
Updated Visitation Procedures
Updated September 7, 2022
As we continue to see the COVID-19 infection rate in the community and within our correctional facilities decrease, and in accordance with the recent announcement by Governor Hochul, effective immediately, the previously issued mandatory mask policy for all DOCCS Correctional Facilities is rescinded. 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
We will continue to provide an at-home test kit to all visitors and require that they test negative prior to being allowed to visit. If an employee, volunteer, incarcerated individual or visitor chooses to wear a mask, we should respect their decision to do so.
The Department remains committed to protecting the health and safety of staff, the incarcerated and parolee populations, as well as visitors. 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.
***It is strongly recommended that visitors traveling to a facility by bus get tested prior to boarding the bus. This will not only prevent riders from endangering the health of other passengers, but will also ensure visitors do not make the trip, only to be denied entry to a facility following a positive test. Please note: those who receive a test prior to visiting are still required to take a test on site.***
VENDOR PACKAGE PROGRAM
In a continuous battle to prevent contraband from getting into DOCCS’ correctional facilities and maintaining security and safety for both staff and the incarcerated population, the Department has revised its policy concerning packages and articles received through facility package rooms.
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 – is in the process of being updated. A draft of the updated document is available here.
A list of disapproved vendors can be found here.
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.