CHILLICOTHE, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) has announced that COVID restrictions for inmate visitations will be lifted April 1, and visitors will no longer be required to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination.
After closing visitation completely during the COVID-19 surge in the fall of 2020, the DOC opened visitation again in June of 2021, but only for offenders who had been vaccinated. The visiting capacity was limited to 50%, a visitation had to be scheduled in advance, and masks were required for everyone.
Then, as cases began to decrease during the fall of 2021, the DOC opened visitation to all offenders Oct. 1, regardless of their vaccination status. The department increased the visiting capacity to 75%, but still mandated masks for both visitors and offenders. Those restrictions are still in place until April 1, when all restrictions will be lifted.
According to the Missouri Department of Corrections website, there are currently eight active cases of COVID-19 among staff and four cases among inmates in all adult institutions across Missouri.
In total, 54 inmates and 13 staff have died of COVID. The state has performed over 132,000 tests of both inmates and staff and has administered over 17,000 vaccines to inmates. All statistics are since March of 2020, when the Department of Corrections began testing.
When it comes to state-by-state rankings of cases and deaths, Missouri is in the middle – ranking 20th and 18th among all states respectively. The rankings were compiled by The Marshall Project in the summer of 2021.
With COVID restrictions lifted, many inmates in Missouri, as well as their friends and family, can look forward to seeing their loved ones more often and without a mask.