In March of 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections quickly implemented several policies in an attempt to mitigate the isolation caused by COVID-19 prevention measures. These measures included access to free phone calls, cable, and emails while in person visiting and many programs were suspended.
Now that all but three SCIs are open to limited in person visiting, the Department has announced the cessation of these measures.
Incarcerated people were notified of the below changes on July 22, 2021:
There will be no changes, to the following:
A 2015 study found that 65% of families struggle to meet basic needs because of the costs associated with a loved one’s incarceration. The cost of phone calls and visits alone cause one in three families to go into debt.
Fostering connection contributes to safer prison environments, supports successful reintegration, and reduces collateral harm to communities caused by mass incarceration. The Society remains committed to advocating for policies and practices that promote social connection throughout periods of incarceration.
Incarcerated people and their loved ones have experienced tremendous isolation over the last sixteen months. The Prison Society is here as a resource to family members who need assistance setting up in-person or virtual visits.
The Prison Society’s Family Transportation program remains suspended. We are ready, willing, able and excited to resume this important program as soon as we are given the go-ahead from the Department of Corrections.