The Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) announced this week that it was restricting access to its facilities for volunteers who run programs and services if they are older than 60 or have an underlying health condition that could make them more vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. The restriction was effective immediately.

“We value our volunteer partners who help facilitate sanctioned DOC programs, including faith-based programming in coordination with our facility Wardens and staff,” Commissioner Claire DeMatteis said. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are restricting volunteer access for those who public health officials indicate are most at-risk. We are all in this together, and this decision is part of our continual efforts to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, inmates, volunteers and the general public.”

DeMatteis said DOC is committed to continuing programming at its Level V prison and Level IV work release and violation-of-probation facilities during the COVID-19 response, and is working with partners, including the Delaware Department of Education, to leverage technology to present prison education and programming in alternative formats, including video presentations, over the coming week. DOC, DeMatteis said, is exploring similar technology platforms to continue to administer religious programming and other services to keep officers, inmates and staff as safe and healthy as possible.

For more information about the DOC’s response to COVID-19, visit https://doc.delaware.gov.