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Prisons: Coronavirus

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 24th March 2020.

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Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Government news story of 12 March 2020 on preparedness to deal with coronavirus in prisons, how many and what proportion of (a) prisoners, (b) prison officers and (c) other prison staff have regular access to (i) soap and (ii) hot water; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Government news story of 12 March 2020 on preparedness to deal with coronavirus in prisons, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of access to handwashing facilities for teaching staff in prisons.

Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Government news story of 12 March 2020 on preparedness to deal with coronavirus in prisons, whether (a) policies and (b) procedures to manage outbreaks of disease have been updated to include coronavirus.

Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans he has to offer prison staff bonuses to cover shortages during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Prisons have existing, well-developed policies and procedures in place to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases. These policies and procedures are being built upon in response to the specific risks posed by COVID-19 and we have put in place robust contingency plans, informed by Public Health authorities.

HMPPS has introduced a procedure for the protective isolation of individuals in prison custody when it is considered that they may be potentially infected with the virus. This has been communicated to all prison staff.

Basic hygiene is a key part of tackling COVID-19. All prisoners have access to soap and hot water for handwashing – not just in cells but also in other shared areas such as education blocks, kitchens, showers, workplace toilets and the gym.

All prison staff, including teaching staff, also have access to adequate handwashing facilities and we have worked closely with suppliers to ensure adequate supply of soap and cleaning materials

We are looking at ways to increase front line staff availability so that we can minimise the impacts on regimes of staff absences. This includes the possibility of pay and reward enhancements.

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