Prisoners: Coronavirus

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 1st December 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to Prison Population Projections 2020 to 2026, England and Wales, published on 26 November 2020, Figure 1.1, how he plans to prevent rising risks of covid-19 infection as the prison population increases.

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

The safety of our staff and those in our care remains our top priority and when responding to Covid-19 we continue to work closely with public health authorities to develop and refine our response to the pandemic. HMPPS will continue to apply a range of measures to limit the spread of the virus in prisons and save lives.

The compartmentalisation of prisoners requires establishments to introduce isolation units for the symptomatic, shielding units for the vulnerable, and reverse cohorting to quarantine new arrivals. Social distancing and basic hygiene are also effective controls to reduce transmission and we will continue to provide access to the right cleaning and hygiene products in prisons. Other measures we will continue to apply include adapting prison regimes to support social distancing and PPE usage.

We have also expanded the estate with new temporary units. Over 1,000 temporary cells were delivered to increase space and help reduce the spread of the virus. These units were placed where there are the highest number of shared cells, a lack of in-cell sanitation and where there were high numbers of vulnerable prisoners. Over 800 of these cells are currently in use. An Annex at HMP/YOI Rochester was also opened up to hold up to and additional 70 men.

We have started to rollout regular testing for frontline staff which means we can identify positive cases earlier and will be able to minimise the spread of outbreaks. HMMPS is also rolling out testing for prisoners on reception and transfer.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.