While visitation to nursing homes and some hospitals is still suspended, New York State is allowing inmate visitation at its prisons.

Bryan Hluska is the VP of the New York State Correctional Officers Police Benevolent Association and he provided guidelines released by the state directing how prisons should handle visitation that is set to begin Saturday.

Hluska tells WIBX, "I’m appalled that inmates can have visits but family cannot visit loved ones in nursing homes." He also made the point that the kids may not be able to go back to school, but they can go into state prisons.

A few of the regulations put in place by the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision include,

  • Visiting Rooms will be re-configured to reduce the capacity to half to facilitate social distancing. Facilities with outside visiting areas will utilize such areas, weather permitting.
  • Masks will be required by all individuals involved in the visit and may be removed for processing and for eating of food purchased at vending machines.
  • Visits will be limited to three adult visitors and one child, under the age of 5.
  • Physical contact will not be allowed, except that a visitor and an incarcerated individual may engage in a short embrace at the beginning and the end of any contact visit.

The DOCCS guidelines issued included the note, "These provisions are subject to change and visitations could again be suspended should there be an increased infection rate at one or more facilities, or if conditions change in the community."

The argument could be made about nursing homes that there still are no visitors allowed due to the high number of susceptible people living in them, but prison populations consist of several people considered in the vulnerable category as well. There are elderly people incarcerated in prisons, there are those with preexisting conditions incarcerated in prisons and with inmates living in close proximity the threat of a spike there is much greater.

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