Prisons: Coronavirus

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 11 January 2021.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Conservative, Tatton

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what prediction Public Health England made of the number of deaths on the prison estate at the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and how many deaths there have been on the prison estate from covid-19 to date.

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

Verified data on the total number of prisoners, children in custody and probation service users who have died having tested positive for COVID-19 or where there was a clinical assessment that COVID-19 was a contributory factor in their deaths is published on GOV.UK. The latest published figures are for November which confirm 47 deaths. Non-cumulative weekly data is also released, these series can be found via the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hm-prison-and-probation-service-covid-19-statistics-monthly

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmpps-covid-19-management-information-weekly

In the COVID-19 population management strategy for prisons published in April it was estimated that approximately 2,700 prisoners would die if there were no changes to regimes in prison. The strategy can be found using the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-population-management-strategy-for-prisons

We took decisive action to avoid thousands of prisoners and staff becoming infected with the virus. These included minimising movement between prisons and introducing measures to shield the vulnerable, isolate those with symptoms, and quarantine new entrants to custody. All our actions have been informed by the advice of experts from PHE and will be kept under constant review.

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