Courtesy photo / DOC
A Department of Corrections nurse vaccinates a Fairbanks Correctional Center inmate. The DOC eased restrictions on March 15, 2021, to allow attorneys to visit fully vaccinated inmates at DOC facilities.

Courtesy photo / DOC A Department of Corrections nurse vaccinates a Fairbanks Correctional Center inmate. The DOC eased restrictions on March 15, 2021, to allow attorneys to visit fully vaccinated inmates at DOC facilities.

DOC to allow attorney-client visitation in facilities

Attorneys will be allowed to visit fully vaccinated inmates in person again.

The Alaska Department of Corrections is easing visiting restrictions, allowing attorneys to visit fully vaccinated clients in person with some mitigation strategies in place, a DOC spokesperson said.

The desire to return to in-person visits has been expressed by many attorneys, said DOC spokesperson Sarah Gallagher, as communication in the interim has all been by phone or video.

“Once more inmates become fully vaccinated (as defined by the CDC) and are eligible for in-person attorney-client visitation, we anticipate many attorneys taking advantage of this opportunity,” Gallagher said in an email. “They have expressed an eagerness to return to meeting with their clients face-to-face and we appreciate their patience as the Department worked to ensure this process could be done safely.”

[Anchorage man arrested for alleged participation in Capitol riots]

About 50% of the DOC’s current inmates have received at least the first dose of a vaccine, Gallagher said. Complete courses of vaccination plus two weeks is one of the requirements an inmate must fulfill for attorneys to be allowed in to see them.

“DOC followed the vaccination rollout plan laid out by the Department of Health and Social Services. Correctional officers and DOC medical staff were given priority in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,” Gallagher said in an email. “Those employees who worked in one of our infirmaries (long-term care facility) qualified under Phase 1A, Tier 1. All of our staff and inmates (people living or working in a congregate setting) became eligible in Phase 1b, Tier 2 – though many of our staff members were able to access the vaccine in their communities very early on.”

Other regulations include mandatory temperature screenings for visiting attorneys, mandatory mask-wearing inside the facility and appointments for all visits, Gallagher said in a news release. Plexiglass dividers and a firm no-contact rule will also be in place.

The move comes as the DOC eyes opening visitation to more people as vaccination percentages climb, Gallagher said.

“We are pleased to, once again, make available in person attorney access to their clients,” said DOC commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom in the news release. “We look forward to expanding the opportunity for visitation to loved ones in the near future.”

Reopening facilities to family and acquaintances of fully vaccinated inmates will be contingent on community and facility levels, according to the DOC’s most recent outbreak response plan.

“We recognize how important it is for inmates to be able to connect with not only their attorneys but also friends and family,” Dahlstrom said. “Our reopening plan gradually restores outside access to institutions as well as internal activities such as education and rehabilitation programs, chaplaincy services, and slowly expands social bubbles to allow for mixed recreation and meals among inmates.”

The facilities will remain closed to the general public for now, Gallagher said.

Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in News

Central Emergency Services staff wait to receive doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna, borough to continue 911 dispatch partnership

The assembly approved an agreement Tuesday

Alaska State Troopers logo.
ATV accident leaves teen dead in Ninilchik

A 15-year-old girl was driving an ATV with a 14-year-old female passenger

Cook Inlet can be seen at low tide from North Kenai Beach on June 15, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Comment period on proposed Cook Inlet lease sale opens Friday

Cook Inlet is one of 11 locations described in the department’s Proposed Program for the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program

Pottery pieces are displayed as a part of the Kenai Potters’ Guild July show at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Throwing together

Potters’ Guild artists show off their clay creations

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire
This photo shows boats moored at Don D. Statter Harbor on a recent sunny day. According to statistics recently release by the U.S. Coast Guard, boating accidents were down in Alaska in 2021.
Boating fatalities trending down for 2021

Numbers met expectations, said safety instructors

Fishermen took to the mouth of the Kasilof River for opening day of dipnetting, on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion file)
Kasilof dipnetting expanded, sockeye catch upped

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued multiple advisory announcements for sport anglers and dipnetters

Signs warn Fred Meyer customers to prepay if they thing they may go over limits while pumping gas on Friday, March 11, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Analysis: Inflation is up in Alaska

Alaska’s 2021 average inflation rate was the largest annual price increase since 1990

Mount Redoubt can be seen acoss Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Offshore oil plan envisions a single Cook Inlet sale

The proposed 2023-2028 plan is similar to the just-ended Obama administration five-year plan

People line the streets in downtown Kenai, Alaska on Monday, July 4, 2022 for the annual Independence Day parade. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Red, white and blue all day

Kenai turns out for parade, activities to celebrate Independence Day

Most Read