The state Department of Corrections has suspended visitations at all correctional facilities in the state effective immediately.
This decision will impact families in Grays Harbor, where Stafford Creek Corrections Center had planned its Spring Carnival for March 14, an event where prisoners can interact with their children ages 17 and younger. That event is now canceled.
A spokesperson said that, as of now, events in April, including Local Family Council on April 10 and Family Fun Night Bingo on April 17 are canceled as well.
In a release Thursday night (March 12), the DOC said it was taking the following steps:
- Suspending visitation at all correctional facilities in Washington, including extended family visits (EFV). Corrections has authorized reimbursement for families scheduled for EFVs;
- Restricting access for all individuals, with the exception of employees/contract staff and legal professionals, to the Monroe Correctional Complex, Washington Corrections Center and Washington Corrections Center for Women; and
- Suspending all tours and events involving four or more outside guests at all facilities.
Officials also are working to “implement enhanced screening protocols,” including health screening, of its staff and people entereing DOC facilities.
“The Department did not make this decision without extensive discussion,” DOC Secretary Steve Sinclair said in the release. “We know how important visitation and events are to our incarcerated population and their families. Leading up to this, we’d implemented increased cleaning protocols, distributed enhanced health services guidelines and encouraged the incarcerated population to take extra precautions. While we anticipate moving to enhanced screening fairly soon so we can restore visitation, we encourage friends and family to keep in contact during this time utilizing JPay, video visiting, telephone calls and mail correspondence.”