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June 02, 2021 - Somerset, PA

PA Department of Corrections provides prison tour, discusses "new normal" operations as COVID-19 mitigation measures loosen

COVID-19 significantly impacted congregate care settings, including prisons and long-term care facilities. Throughout the pandemic, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) made significant changes to its day-to-day operations with the goal of keeping staff, inmates, and the community safe and healthy.

As vaccination rates climb and mitigation requirements loosen, the DOC is using lessons learned from the pandemic to transition to a "new normal."

On June 2, 2021, the DOC invited media to tour two prisons in Somerset County - SCI Somerset and SCI Laurel Highlands, the state's designated long-term care facility for medically vulnerable male inmates.

Staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system.


<a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_001.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates are pictured inside SCI Somerset during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_002.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates at SCI Laurel Highlands during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_003.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates work with service dogs as part of "Canine Partners for Life" during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_004.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates are pictured inside SCI Somerset during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_005.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates are pictured inside SCI Somerset during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_006.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Eric Tice, superintendent of SCI Somerset, speaks during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_007.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Melissa Hainsworth, superintendent of SCI Laurel Highlands, speaks to members of the press during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_008.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates work with service dogs as part of "Canine Partners for Life" during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_009.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>The yard of SCI Somerset is pictured during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_010.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Eric Tice, superintendent of SCI Somerset, speaks during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_011.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates work with service dogs as part of "Canine Partners for Life" during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_012.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates are pictured inside SCI Somerset during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_013.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates are pictured inside SCI Somerset during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_014.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates are pictured inside SCI Somerset during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_015.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates at SCI Laurel Highlands during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_016.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Inmates are pictured inside SCI Somerset during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. <a href="https://filesource.wostreaming.net/commonwealthofpa/photo/18779_DOC_PostCovid_NK_017.jpg" target="_blank">⇣ Download Photo<br></a>Robert, an inmate at SCI Laurel Highlands, speaks to members of the press during a media tour, where staff and inmates discussed life in a congregate setting during the pandemic, how the DOC responded to COVID-19, and next steps for the department as restrictions loosen and in-person visitation is safely re-introduced throughout the state prison system, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.