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Dozens of Texas prisons cancel visiting hours after prison bus escape

The search for Gonzalo Lopez may be heavily focused on Leon County, but it's impacting prison units across the state.

The statewide search for an escaped Texas prison inmate is having an impact far beyond the Leon County countryside where he was last seen. Now other inmates and their families face cancellations of visiting hours at dozens of facilities across the state.

The video above is from related reporting.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice announced Friday that visiting hours for Saturday and Sunday won't happen.

"Due to the ongoing efforts in the apprehension of escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez, visitation for the following units will be cancelled for May 14, 2022," agency representatives posted on social media. "Until further notice, please contact unit prior to travelling for visitation."

The advisory listed more than 40 facilities in central, eastern, and southeast Texas that were impacted.

TCDJ representatives didn't elaborate on why visitation hours were canceled, though it's not an uncommon practice during high-profile escapes.

RELATED: This isn't the first time escaped convict Gonzalo Lopez has successfully gotten away from law enforcement

While nearly 160,000 people are locked up in more than 60 TDCJ facilities across Texas, according to data from the National Institute of Corrections, visitation privileges are given to inmates who meet specific criteria.

Credit: Texas Department of Criminal Justice

The agency maintains a visitation hotline for the public to answer questions about visitation policies and other topics. You can call 844-476-1289 on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

RELATED: UPDATE: TDCJ raises reward on Lopez to over $22K

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