The Essex County Sheriff’s Department is reopening its prison, pre-release center and Women in Transition Center to the public Monday, July 13, with health and safety guidelines.
Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger said the first stage of reopening requires advance sign-ups for visits, limits to one visitor at a time per inmate, mandatory wearing of masks and a medical screening process including a visitor a temperature check.
“We know how hard these past several months have been on our population and their families, but our first priority has always been keeping everyone safe,” Coppinger said. “We feel we are at a point where we can begin to allow visitors, but we will need cooperation from families, attorneys and volunteers to keep our doors open.”
Visiting times have been extended and lines will be available at the Middleton House of Correction seven days a week between 1 and 9 p.m. Visitors must call 24 to 48 hours in advance. Visit lines at the Essex County Pre-Release Center in Lawrence will be by appointment at 12:30, 1:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., seven days a week. Visit lines at the Women in Transition Center are Thursdays at 6 and 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 12:30, 1:30, 3 and 4 p.m. Appointments must be made in advance between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The buildings were closed to the public March 14 as the pandemic began to take hold in the Commonwealth. The Sheriff’s Department made several adjustments to keep families and inmates connected during the shutdown, including providing free telephone calls as well as tablets to each inmate, allowing them to make calls from their cells.
Attorneys continue meeting with clients in person. Programming also resume Monday, allowing vendors and volunteers to return. Religious visits will also be allowed.