The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has canceled all visitation and all volunteer access to facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among staff, inmates and volunteers.
The action took effect Friday at 6 p.m. DOC officials said they are closely adhering to guidelines set by the American Correctional Association, Oklahoma State Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep the illness from being introduced in state facilities.
The agency is using protocols in place for flu pandemics as the basis for developing a specific, comprehensive response to COVID-19. Steps include screening all new inmate arrivals for symptoms of COVID-19 and suspending all inmate security movements.
Officials said exceptions to those protocols will be made on a case-by-case basis.
In a news release, DOC officials said they understand the importance of inmates connecting with family members and are working to expand options to allow such interaction.
DOC Director Scott Crow will reassess the need to keep visitors and volunteers from entering facilities on a weekly basis.
For the most up-to-date information, the public can call 405-425-2556 to hear a recorded message.
Several other states’ corrections departments are similarly restricting access to prisons in order to keep staff, inmates and volunteers safe from the spread of COVID-19.