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SCI Houtzdale will begin in-person visitation on July 22


Harrisburg, PA – Following the successful reintroduction of in-person inmate visitation at five Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) facilities in May and early June, the DOC Secretary John Wetzel announced that three additional facilities have finalized plans to welcome back visitors.

The latest facilities to confirm dates for the reinstatement of in-person visitation are SCI Chester, SCI Dallas, and SCI Houtzdale.

FacilityStart Date
SCI ChesterJune 16, 2021
SCI DallasJune 23, 2021
SCI HoutzdaleJuly 22, 2021

Reopening dates for additional facilities will be announced when they are available.

Visitors are reminded that visits must be scheduled online at least three days in advance. To comply with reduced visiting room capacity limits, visitors who arrive at a facility without an appointment will be turned away. Available visitation timeslots are determined by each facility, based on an inmate’s housing location within the prison. Each visit will be at least one hour in duration. No-cost video visits remain an option for people to connect with incarcerated loved ones.

Information on scheduling an in-person or video visit and the reopening of DOC facilities is available at cor.pa.gov. Visitors may begin scheduling in-person visits via the inmate visitation system seven days before the start date. Dates are subject to change.

Established visiting rules remain in effect. Visitors are also required to complete a COVID questionnaire and temperature screening. All inmates and visitors ages 2 and older are issued a disposable facemask, which must be worn for the duration of the visit. Visiting rooms have been configured in a way that allows for social distancing between each visiting group. Visits can be cancelled by the facility if the rules are not followed.

On-site visits to DOC facilities were suspended on March 13, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Decisions regarding the reinstatement of in-person visitation at each location are based on inmate vaccination rates, percentage of COVID-19 cases among the inmate population, and results from the DOC’s wastewater testing program that monitors for elevated levels of the COVID-19 virus.

For more information on the impact of COVID-19 within the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, visit the COVID-19 dashboard.

Watch the video of a media tour of SCI Somerset and SCI Laurel Highlands as they showed some of the COVID-19 precautions. (Video released June 2, 2021)