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COVID-19

Every day, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) shares basic information and statistics about the status of COVID-19 in the state prison system. The DOC is fully compliant with CDC testing guidelines, and inmates have access to robust medical staff/operations at both the local and Central Office levels. 

Individual-specific information and testing details will not be provided by the DOC.

For all the latest updates on COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, visit the PA Department of Health’s website, including the COVID-19 tracker.

COVID-19 Dashboard

All data regarding vaccinations, positive cases of COVID-19 and inmate population can be found on our dashboard. The dashboard includes statistical and demographic data for inmate deaths related to COVID-19. There have been 12 staff deaths during COVID-19.

View the dashboard below or view it as a new tab in your browser.


The DOC tests wastewater at all state prisons to monitor for elevated COVID-19 viral loads. This report can help DOC officials find a spike in the virus and test accordingly.

COVID-19 Vaccine

On-site vaccination and boosters are available to the inmate population and staff at every state correctional institution in Pennsylvania. 

Vaccination among the inmate population is voluntary, and approximately 90 percent of inmates have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Incarcerated individuals who elected to receive the vaccine received a $25 incentive in their inmate account. A similar $25 incentive was offered to those who received a vaccine booster. Money for the vaccine incentives comes from the inmate general welfare fund, which is not taxpayer-funded. 

Vaccination for staff is also voluntary; however, staff who choose not to be vaccinated must submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Staff is eligible for additional paid leave as an incentive for vaccination.

Updated inmate vaccination totals and percentages are available on the Department's COVID-19 dashboard.

Video Visitation

In March 2020, the DOC revamped its video visitation program – most notably, allowing visitors to participate form home – to keep inmates connected to their families while in-person visitation was unavailable. No-cost video visitation continues to be offered all DOC facilities.

Learn more about online and in-person visitation.

Reducing the Population

To promote social distancing and reduce the potential for the spread of COVID-19, the DOC reduced the population where possible. Steps taken include:

  • Working with the parole board to maximize parole releases
  • Reviewing parole detainers for individuals in county jails and state prisons
  • Expediting the release process for anyone with a pending home plan
  • Reviewing inmates within the state prison system who are beyond their minimum sentences

Mental Health

The DOC has taken several measures to support the mental health of the incarcerated population throughout the pandemic, including:

  • Additional controlled out-of-cell time
  • Increased access to video visitation
  • Free phone calls
  • Additional no-cost mailing envelopes
  • Increased interaction with facility psychology staff on all housing units

Mitigation Measures

The DOC has undertaken a variety mitigation efforts throughout the pandemic.

Inmates

  • Suspension of in-person visitation when necessary
  • Expansion of video visitation
  • Enhanced screening and quarantine for new inmates
  • Masking strongly recommended
  • Increased availability of cleaning supplies
  • Reduced cohort size and new zoning requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Staff

  • Enhanced screening and temperature checks for all individuals entering a facility
  • Masking strongly recommended
  • Personal protective equipment is provided to all staff

Parole/Field/Reentry

  • Increased use of technology to facilitate remote contacts
  • Enhanced sanitation protocols at Community Corrections Centers
  • Separation and isolation for reentrants experiencing symptoms of COVID-19