NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
As Florida’s prison system has recorded nearly 1,900 COVID-19 cases, the Florida Department of Corrections on Monday announced it is extending a ban on visitors through June 28.
Inmates have been unable to see their loved ones and family members in person since March 11, when the department first suspended in-person visitation across the state.
The ban, which was extended in April, was instituted to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a deadly respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. In a news release Monday, the department said, “the decision to reinstate the normal visitation schedule will be evaluated in consultation with public health experts.”
Some free calls
Inmates will continue to have access to their loved ones through mail, phone calls and video visitation, which cost money. The department announced last week that inmates will have some complimentary services through July 5, including two free phone calls of up to 15 minutes per prisoner each week.
Numbers released Monday showed that 1,589 inmates and 294 corrections workers across the state had tested positive for the virus. Seventeen inmates have died from complications of COVID-19, corrections officials reported.
The vast majority of cases are concentrated in 12 prisons. Homestead Correctional Institution has had 301 inmate cases, the most of any prison in the state.
It is followed by Liberty Correctional Institution, with 212 inmate cases; Hamilton Correctional Institution, with 204 inmate cases; and South Bay Correctional Facility, with 172 inmate cases.