PLS Executive Director Applauds DOCCS for Resuming Visitation
In a July 3, 2021 Press Republican article, PLS Executive Director, Karen Murtagh commended DOCCS for allowing a brief embrace at the beginning and end of each visit, resuming the Family Reunion Program (FRP) and adopting a vaccine incentive campaign. The FRP will resume in September 2021, assuming the COVID-19 infection rate continues to decline. The program allows family members to reunite and reconnect, is essential to maintaining safety and security in the prisons and helps ensure successful reentry and reintegration upon release. Murtagh noted that the FRP has been around for decades, is a special privilege that must be earned and now will require that all people over 12 years old who wish to participate in the program be vaccinated.
DOCCS has also initiated a campaign to incentivize the incarcerated population to get vaccinated. Murtagh praised DOCCS’ efforts on this front, especially in light of the fact that the vaccination rate among the incarcerated population is currently approximately 25% below that of the general population.