PHILADELPHIA – On Saturday August 22, The Philadelphia Department of Prisons (PDP) implemented its planned transfer of incarcerated individuals to maximize bed capacity for the prison population and allow for the highest operational efficiency.

The changes, which were planned for months before the onset of COVID-19, are as follows:

  • Female incarcerated individuals housed at Riverside Correctional Facility (RCF) were moved to the Alternative Special Detention (ASD) Central Unit and MOD 3, formally used to house work-release participants. Work-release continues to be suspended out of an abundance of caution to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
  • Official and legal visits for female incarcerated individuals will occur at the Detention Center using the existing scheduling process.
  • Male incarcerated individuals previously housed in the Detention Center (DC) have been transferred to RCF. The male youth offender population will remain housed in RCF in their own unit. The Detention Center, which still has viable housing, will remain open while under the administrative supervision of RCF due to its low population.
  • The Prison Health Services Wing (PHSW) will continue to be used for infirmed incarcerated individuals. Official and legal visits for the male population will be held at RCF using the existing scheduling process.

These changes have been planned for months and prior to COVID-19 but could not take place until the female population dropped low enough to make the move to ASD. The changes also could not be implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the CDC’s Guidelines for Correctional Facilities advising against the mass movement of the population to avoid any transmission of the coronavirus.

This relocation effort was allowed since PDP entered the Yellow Phase of its COVID-19 operational plan, which allows for increased movement of the population and additional time out of cell while social distancing is maintained. At the height of COVID-19, PDP was in a shelter in place, meaning that incarcerated people could only leave their cells for showers and phone calls.

Civilian visitation remains prohibited at Philadelphia’s prisons until further notice. Official and legal visits are still permitted, and incarcerated individuals are provided with 15 minutes of free phone calls daily. Learn more about how the Philadelphia Department of Prisons is responding to COVID-19.