Prisoners' Release: Coronavirus

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 27th May 2020.

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Photo of Lord Lee of Trafford Lord Lee of Trafford Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisoners, both adult and those in young offender institutions, have been granted early release as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

On 31 March, we announced that pregnant women and prisoners with their babies in custody will be considered for Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) on compassionate grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Friday 15 May, 21 pregnant women and mothers with babies in custody have been released.

In addition, prisoners identified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ as defined in the NHS guidelines will merit consideration for ROTL on compassionate grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Friday 15 May, 5 extremely vulnerable individuals have been released.

On 4 April, we announced the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme. This scheme enables risk-assessed prisoners, who are within two months of their release date, to be temporarily released from custody, as part of the national approach to managing public services during this challenging period. As of Friday 15 May, 66 offenders have been released under this scheme.

All offenders released were aged 18 and over.

Alongside the careful release of low-risk offenders, we are taking steps to temporarily expand the prison estate, shield the most vulnerable, and reduce the number of prisoners on remand. This is to strike a balance between limiting the spread of COVID-19 in jails while ensuring the public is protected.

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