DOC Update
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Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel announced Friday a 5-phase plan to begin reopening state prisons, according to a release.

DOC officials say the 5-level phased reopening plan will begin on Tuesday, May 26, and will follow the Governor's statewide reopening plans.

"As the Governor reopens Pennsylvania, we, too, must return to a more normal operation, and get back to preparing individuals to successfully reenter society." Wetzel said.

"I'm very appreciative of our staff who have worked tirelessly to slow the spread of this virus, and it's time to move forward with caution."

The plan will consist of five levels, with Level 5 being the most restrictive and Level 1 being the least restrictive, officials add, and will rely on safety and scientific data to gradually reopen the prison system.

"While we may never return to pre-COVID operations, we do expect to return to near normal operations that includes social distancing and continued monitoring of staff and inmates for symptoms," Wetzel said.

"We believe in acting quickly and aggressively when responding to this virus, while affording more out-of-cell time and allowing inmates to return to work, education, programming and activities."

As counties within the state move from red to yellow and then to green, the prisons within those counties will reopen accordingly, the release notes.