Spread & Mitigation of
COVID-19 in PA Prisons
How to use this map
Click on any county for regularly updated news and data on COVID-19 in county jails and state prisons.
Toggle between maps. The first tracks the spread of COVID-19 in county jails and state prisons. The second shows how county jail populations have changed during the pandemic.
This map was created with assistance from the Vera Institute
How can I stay in touch with a loved one who is incarcerated?
When will bus service resume?
How are prisons and jails keeping incarcerated people safe and healthy?
How can I stay updated about the state of COVID-19 virus inside of Pennsylvania prisons and jails?
Scroll up to our interactive map (above) for regularly updated information about the spread and mitigation of COVID-19 in state prisons and county jails. Sign up for mailing list to recieve regular updates in your inbox.
What happens if my loved one is awaiting a court date?
Contact your defenders' office in the county where your loved one is scheduled to appear in court to find out what court hearings are still occuring and what delays should be anticipated. If you need help contacting a defense attorney or if you are not hearing back, please let us know.
If the case you are concerned about is in Philadelphia County, the Defenders' Association has set up a form to request assistance electronically. That form can be found here.
You can find the contact information for the Public Defender's office in your county here.
Are there any programs that offers assistance while people are awaiting a bail reduction?
Contact your county public defenders office to find out information. Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh all have local bail funds that can help with bail.
Will my loved one be released on time if they have been granted parole?
The Department of Corrections assures us that if someone has been approved for parole, they will be released on the approved date. If your loved one has not been given a release date, there may be delays.
Who can help me with the release of an incarcerated loved one?
The DOC has indicated that they have identified all medically vulnerable people who are eligible for release under the Governor's reprieve. A full copy of the order can be found here.
Will mandated programming requirements be waived while programming is suspended?
No. In most cases they will not be waived. There are a few exceptions, but very few. When programming is mandated by law, it must be completed prior to release. The Department of Corrections is working to ensure that any programs that can happen in cells are moving forward in order to minimize delays. There may be limited circumstances where a program can be completed in the community post release. Contact your local defender for more information.
Are families notified if a loved one tests positive for COVID-19?
No. Please ask your loved one to let you know if they are tested and what the results are. Encourage them to call, or write you as soon as they know.
Can people in the RHU (solitary) access Zoom visits?
Yes, some restrictions may apply.
How is daily life in prisons impacted by COVID-19 restrictions?
On March 22, Secretary Wetzel released the DOC's Demobilization Plan for state correctional institutions (SCIs) that outlines gradual increases in out-of-cell time and a gradual resumption of programming.
Can I get updates about my loved one's medical condition from DOC?
Not usually. Medical information is concidered confidential to the patient. If you would like to hear medical information directly from the doctor or prison administration, your loved one should ask to update their Form DC-108. The Form DC-108 is a form that all people in state custody sign that speicifies who can receive medical information. Your loved one should update this form to specifically state that you are able to receive medical information. Your name needs to be clearly spelled out on this form.
How do I properly send mail to my incarcerated loved one at a SCI facility?
County Jail Visitation FAQs are updated regularly with the latest in-person and virtual visiting policies at county jails
Memo to County Commissioners:
"Claire Shubik-Richards of the Pennsylvania Prison Society said her organization has been interviewing correctional medical experts for guidance on how to safely permit greater movement within the prisons. The feedback they received was that increased outdoor time — currently restricted to once every four days, or even once a week, in some institutions — is crucial."
"State officials faced intense pressure to reduce prison populations in the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, prioritizing those whose releases were largely uncontroversial for the sake of expediency, said Claire Shubik-Richards, executive director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society."
What happening with COVID-19 in jails?, August 5, 2020
“Last week the Pennsylvania Prison Society – an organization recognized in state law that advocates for both prisoners and staff at correctional facilities – sent an email blast announcing that COVID-19 cases have been detected at two county jails.”
All visitor buses from the Prison Society are suspended until further notice.
The Department of Correction has suspended ALL visits statewide until further notice.
Our Hope Alive meetings are cancelled until further notice.
Our Parenting classes are cancelled until further notice.