County jail inmates to get social visits

Franklin County Jail

Most Franklin County Jail inmates will start getting one 30-minute visit from family and loved ones a week, beginning Monday.

The decision to resume limited visits at the local jail was made last week. The visits will be limited, however, with each inmate getting only one visit a week.

The limits protect inmates and follow social distancing protocols, Warden Bill Bechtold said in a news release.

Some inmates won’t get any visits at all, however. Those include inmates in quarantine status.

There were 34 inmates in the quarantine unit as of late Friday, jail spokeswoman Julia Lehman said. Only one was quarantined as a result of testing positive for COVID-19. The others were either new arrivals who are now quarantined for 14 days on arrival, or inmates being transferred out.

“Franklin County Jail (FCJ) continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within its facility,” the announcement said.

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How it will work

● Inmates on the quarantine units will not be permitted visits. Once an inmate clears quarantine, they will be available for visits.

● Inmates will only be permitted one (1) visit per week for a half hour (30 minutes) in length.

●       Visits will be Monday through Friday from 6-9 p.m. with the last visit scheduled at 8:30 p.m.

●       Visits can be scheduled by calling the Lobby, Monday through Friday, between 2:30-9 p.m.

●       There will be two visits per housing unit every half hour (30 minutes).

●       Each visit will be limited to two visitors. 

●       Only the two visitor phones on the end will be used. The three remaining phones will not be used for visits.

● Inmates and visitors will be responsible for sanitizing the visitor stations before and after their visit.

● Inmates and visitors are required to wear a mask during the visits.

Visitor Procedures

● Upon arrival, visitors will remain outside the Lobby until requested by the Lobby Officer to enter. When the Lobby Officer allows the visitor to enter, they will sign in and provide the Lobby Officer with their ID.

● Visiting minors will be asked to provide a birth certificate (or copy) as their form of ID.

● Visitors will be asked to provide a phone number that can be used to contact them when the visitation room is available.

● If the visiting room is unavailable at that time, they will leave the Lobby and be told to remain onsite in their car or outside.

● When the room is available, the Lobby Officer will call the visitor and inform them to enter the Lobby for their scheduled visit.

● Normal clearance procedures for visitors will be followed including temperature checks and answering the screening questions.

● Masks will be worn correctly at all times inside Franklin County Jail.

Scheduling a Visit

● A calendar/log will be created for scheduling of inmate visits.

●       Visitors can schedule visits in advance by calling the Lobby Officer Monday through Friday between 2:30-9 p.m. 

● When a visit is scheduled, the Lobby Officer will document the names and phone number of the visitors.

● Lobby Officers will document all information in the visitation calendar/log provided.

All visits must be scheduled. No walk-ins will be permitted.

Successful social visiting at the jail during the pandemic depends on the diligence of inmates and visitors, Bechtold said. Every visitor is expected to practice proper hygiene, face masking and social distancing measures.    

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