Letter to Inmate Families

May 14, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic hit our communities and institutions hard, causing the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation {CDCR) to reluctantly suspend the visiting program in March 2020. While this
decision was necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the impact to our population and their loved ones
was significant and should not be understated. Recognizing the importance of maintaining family
connections, CDCR implemented video visiting in December 2020. This initiative was very successful and
made visiting possible for many families and friends not able to visit due to COVID-19 restrictions, as well as
many who previously could not make the trip for in-person visiting.

CDCR has always recognized the importance of maintaining family and community ties and has been
committed to resuming face-to-face visitation as soon as it could be safely done. Once our active COVID-19
cases declined, CDCR resumed face-to-face visits in April 2021. This decision, and the protocols that came
with it, were made in consultation with our public health experts so as not to put our population or their
loved ones at risk.

The restrictions for face-to-face visiting continue to gradually ease with the hope of returning to a new normal
for two-hour visits for up to three approved visitors, including minors over the age of two. Although testing,
masking, and physical distancing will still be required, the protocols to get into the institutions are being
modified so that fully vaccinated family members will no longer need to test before entering (proof of
vaccination will be required). The same policy applies to our incarcerated population. We are working to
resume full visiting, including welcoming children under age two, as soon as it is safe to do so.
Most importantly, family visiting (overnight visiting) is set to resume in June this year with no age limit to
participants. Incarcerated people will be quarantined and tested following the visit, which is similar to when
they transfer to a new institution or return from an off-site hospital admission.

While CDCR’s first priority is to protect the health and safety of those who live and work in our institutions,
we recognize that visiting is crucial to maintaining family relationships and community ties. We strive to find
a balance between the two and thank you for your patience. Additional details and updates can be found at
https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/visitors/ .