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Department of Corrections announces five-level plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions on state prisons

DOC will begin plans May 26th on a five level plan based off Governor Wolf's statewide reopening

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — In line with Governor Wolf's phased reopening plan for Pennsylvania, the Department of Corrections (DOC) released their five level plan to get state prisons back to normal.

"As the risk in the community lowers, we can afford to take the risk," DOC Secretary John Wetzel said.

Each level, five being the most restrictive, eases limitations on cohort size, work and educational opportunities, religious services and other unit activity. You can find the full plan on the DOC's website.

In-person visits will not be allowed until all of Pennsylvania is in the Green Phase. Video visits will continue, per Sec. Wetzel.

The plan is based on a variety of factors, as DOC officials have worked closely with the governor's office and the Department of Health to outline the plan.

"Cases per 100,000 is one of the factors. Testing capacity, those are all things fed into the governor's red-yellow-green," Sec. Wetzel said.

The Department of Corrections, like the governor's office with the phased reopening, said their plan will be fluid as well.

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"We are going to slide back in between levels based on positive and active cases and how much spread is in those cases," Sec. Wetzel said. 

One of the facilities entering level four immediately is SCI Camp Hill.

On May 26, the following facilities officially will move to Level 4:  Camp Hill, Chester, Coal Township, Dallas, Frackville, Huntingdon, Mahanoy, Phoenix, Retreat, Smithfield and Waymart.

On May 26, the following facilities will move to Level 3: Albion, Benner Township, Cambridge Springs, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Houtzdale, Laurel Highlands, Mercer, Muncy, Pine Grove, Quehanna, Rockview and Somerset.

Wetzel said that employee enhanced screening will continue and that both staff and inmates will be required to wear masks.

For the latest information on prison openings and other COVID-19 efforts, you can visit the DOC's website.