Prisoners Release: Coronavirus

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 29th October 2020.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisoners in prisons and young offender institutions have been granted temporary release under each of the three categories eligible for Covid-19 Release on Temporary Licence on Compassionate Grounds.

Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Minister of State, 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 30 September, 25 pregnant women and mothers with babies in custody have been released.

In addition, prisoners identified as ‘extremely vulnerable’ as defined in the NHS guidelines also merit consideration for ROTL on compassionate grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 30 September, 29 extremely vulnerable individuals have been released. This brings the total number of compassionate releases to 54.

The Ministry of Justice now publishes a monthly release of Covid-19 related statistics. This includes the number of prisoners that have been released from custody under Covid-19 temporary release schemes. The statistical release can be found here each month: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hm-prison-and-probation-service-covid-19-statistics-monthly.

Alongside the careful release of low-risk offenders, we have also implemented our compartmentalisation strategy to manage different cohorts of the prison population, are working to expedite remand cases, and have expanded the estate through the installation of temporary single occupancy units. We will keep those in our care safe by limiting the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, while maintaining public protection.

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