Visits halted at Jessup prison after outbreak of illness

Visits halted at Jessup prison after outbreak, officials expect to return to normal operations Monday

Jessup Correctional Institution officials say they expect the prison to return to normal operations Monday after a gastrointestinal outbreak stopped activities and visits.

Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said Saturday officials took action after inmates and staff began to suffer symptoms March 14. At the peak of the outbreak, about two dozen inmates and a small number of staff were ill, he said.

"We proactively stopped outside visits, inmate transfers, and programming conducted by outside volunteers in an effort to keep the illness from spreading," Vernarelli said in an email.

Vernarelli said officials worked with the agency's medical personnel and the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to follow guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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