Arizona prison inmates, cut off because of virus, to get video visitation

May 8, 2020, 5:00 PM
video visitation...
In this photo taken on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, a visitor uses the video visitation system at the Fort Bend County Jail to speak with an inmate, in Richmond, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

PHOENIX – The Arizona prison system said it will temporarily offer video visitation to inmates cut off from the outside world during the coronavirus pandemic starting Sunday, coinciding with Mother’s Day.

The video access will continue at the state’s complexes through June 13, the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry announced Friday.

Each inmate will be allowed one 15-minute video visitation per week, initially at no cost, the department said.

Visitors must be approved, and the inmates need to have visitation privileges.

All forms of visitation have been suspended since March 13 in an attempt to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

Inmates’ communication beyond prison walls has been restricted to letter writing and a limited number of phone calls.

According to the department’s COVID-19 dashboard, 71 inmates had tested positive for the coronavirus through Thursday. Five preliminary deaths were reported on the dashboard, but they have yet to be confirmed.

The first positive test for a state inmate was reported April 7.

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Arizona prison inmates, cut off because of virus, to get video visitation