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Prison Officers: Coronavirus

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

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to protect prison officers from covid-19.

Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment has he made of the availability of personal protection equipment for prison staff 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. We have procedures agreed with our public health colleagues for protecting staff in the workplace but, like any member of the community, some prison staff may need to self-isolate in line with public health advice, or may become infected. All staff working in prisons have clear advice on the steps they should take should they become unwell, or if they have been exposed to COVID-19 risk. That includes specific advice on how establishments should work together with public health authorities and the NHS to control any outbreaks which may occur.

Together with Public Health England (PHE) we have identified what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required to keep staff safe. We are working with providers to ensure the continued supply of PPE and cleaning and hygiene products, so that staff are protected and our establishments are hygienic.

We are also taking steps to boost staff availability, this includes operationally qualified staff in HMPPS HQ returning to prisons to support continuity of service. The will help us to maintain as normal a regime as possible within prisons.

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