Next week, a major change will be happening at Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities across the state.

Specifically, on Monday, March 15, 2021, in-person visitation will resume at all units across the state. In-person visitation was suspended on March 13, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TDCJ officials note there will be some changes for in-person visitation when it resumes next week: "Initially, eligible inmates will be allowed two in-person visits per month. To allow for social distancing, visits will consist of one adult visitor. Visits will be one hour in length. Video visits will not count against the number of in-person visits each month.

"Visits will need to be scheduled in advance, but visitation times will be expanded to Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Families will be encouraged to call the day before the visit to verify if the visit is still scheduled and to arrive at least one hour in advance of their scheduled visit time. Inmates on medical isolation or restriction are prohibited from in-person visitation. No contact will be allowed during visits. Barriers will be in place. No items can be exchanged. The entire visit seating area and phones will be sanitized routinely with a 10% bleach solution or vital oxide."

Starting Wednesday, March 10, at 8am visitors on official visitation lists for TDCJ inmates may begin registering for Face-to-Face in-person visitation times  At first, the registration will be over the phone, with visitors calling the unit of assignment of the inmate they would like to visit. The TDCJ says that within the coming days, the call-in scheduling system will be replaced by an on-line visit booking system.

Visitors to TDCJ units will have to follow some COVID-19 related protocols. This includes the completion of a 15-minute rapid COVID-19 test, while seated in their vehicle.

After testing negative for COVID-19, visitors will be allowed to leave their vehicle and proceed into the facility. Visitors will also have to wear an appropriate face covering as they approach the TDCJ's highway gate checkpoint.  The TDCJ also notes that if visitors do not have an appropriate face covering, a mask will be provided. Hand sanitizer will also be made available to visitors. Staff assigned to visitation areas will be required to wear N95 masks and gloves. Sanitation stations will be available in visitation areas.

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