TUMWATER, Wash. — The Washington State Department of Corrections (WSDOC) will resume in-person visitations on Mother's Day, May 9.
The Safe Start Corrections Visitations had to be paused to comply with COVID-19 safety procedures. The visits have been canceled since March 2020.
The visits can occur once a month for one hour at a time. This scheduling system will ensure as many people as possible can schedule a visit while maintaining COVID-19 protocols. The visits will also not have contact to comply with safety procedures.
Those who want to schedule a visit will have to make an appointment online and visitors have to be 16 years or older to schedule. After the appointment is approved, visitors will have to conduct a COVID-19 screening before they enter the facility.
In a press release, Deputy Secretary Julie Martin said the WSDOC is eager to get visitations running again.
"The pandemic has been hard on many people, including family members, spouses, parents and children, or incarcerated individuals who have not been able to visit in person for over a year. We're eager to reopen visitation safely to protect visitors, incarcerated individuals and staff, especially on Mother's Day," Martin said.
According to the WSDOC, in lieu of in-person visits, the WSDOC offered two free phone calls every week for the incarcerated population.
In addition to the visitations, the WSDOC has started to make other changes since the pandemic began.
They are phasing in work release programs in counties that are not in Phase one or two. There will also be increased access to prison law libraries, haircuts and developmental programs like religious services, Chemical Dependency treatment and others.