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Mass. Prisons Re-Open To Visitors Starting Monday

Massachusetts prisons will open to visitors on Monday, Sept. 28 — six months after they closed to most visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Correction says all 16 prisons in the state will start allowing visitors on a limited basis: visitors will have to make arrangements in advance, and only one visit per prisoner will be allowed each week. A DOC statement says visitors will be given COVID-19 screenings that include health questions and a temperature check. There will be physical barriers between visitors and prisoners, and various hygiene protocols will also be in place to try to prevent transmission of the virus.

"As with other reopening strategies across the Commonwealth, DOC’s approach is guided by public health data and focused on its responsibility to those living and working in its facilities," the DOC statement said.

The DOC says since July 1, there have been four cases of COVID-19 in its population and one of those cases is active. It says it continues to test and quarantine as needed.

According to the most recent report to the state, more than 400 DOC prisoners have tested positive for the virus and more than 200 correction officers and other staff. Eight DOC prisoners have died from COVID-19.

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Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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