Prison Visitors

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 21st May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they estimate they will permit family visits to prisoners to resume.

Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice)

As of 24 March, social visits in prisons in England and Wales are temporarily suspended to enable us to ensure the safe and secure functioning of our prisons, while enforcing social distancing. These measures are part of the nationwide efforts to fight coronavirus and we will review the restrictions in line with updates to public health advice.

In recognition of the importance of continued contact with family and to ensure stability in our jails, the Government has moved quickly to keep prisoners in touch with their family members. This includes the provision of 900 locked mobile phones to establishments that do not yet have in-cell telephony.

Additionally, on 15 May, the Government announced that secure video calls will be introduced to prisons and young offender institutions (YOIs) across England and Wales to maintain vital family contact for prisoners and young offenders during the coronavirus pandemic.

Following a successful trial at HMP Berwyn, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is installing the technology at 10 institutions with a wider rollout in the coming weeks.

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