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LATEST 1630hrs 27th March: Some 27 inmates have now tested positive for coronavirus in 14 different prisons.
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HMPPS ADVICE: 1300 hours 27th March
HMPPS announce changes to prisoners work, pay and the introduction of a range of special measures during the Covid-19 lockdown.
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17.30 26th March:

Main messages are:

  • any prisoner/detainee with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature should be placed in protective isolation for 7 days
  • if a member of staff or visitor becomes unwell on site with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they should go home
  • staff, prisoners and visitors should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
  • frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products
  • prisoners or detainees who have a new, continuous cough or a high temperature but are clinically well enough to remain in prescribed places of detention (PPDs) do not need to be transferred to hospital.
  • confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) should be notified by prison or immigration removal centre (IRC) healthcare teams as soon as possible to local Public Health England Health Protection Teams
  • people who are severely unwell may be transferred to appropriate healthcare facilities with usual escorts and following advice on safe transfers
  • staff should wear specified personal protective equipment (PPE) for activities requiring sustained close contact with possible cases (see below for detail)
  • if facing multiple cases of those displaying symptoms, ‘cohorting’, or the gathering of potentially infected cases into a designated area, may be necessary
  • PPD leaders should be assessing their estate for suitable isolation and cohorting provision
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16.45: 26th March 2020: HMPPS issues new guidance about the reduction in prison regimes.  Changes to regimes The usual regime in prisons has been paused temporarily to apply social distancing. This is vital for keeping prisoners and staff safe and preventing the spread of the virus. This means prisoners can no longer take part in usual recreational activities such as using the gym, going to worship or visiting the library. Only essential workers such as kitchen staff or wing cleaners will continue with their jobs but people will still get paid. Support for prisoners, such as advice on in-cell worship, exercise and managing anxiety will be provided.
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1420: 26th March 2020: Second prisoner dies after contracting coronavirus while inside – this time at HMP Manchester
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1400: 26th March 2020: Coughing at police officers while claiming to have Covid-19: two years in prison
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1100: 26th March 2020: First Covid-19 Death in Prison at HMP Littlehey
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25th March 2020

Latest Figures 1pm Wednesday 25th March 2020

Some 19 inmates have now tested positive for coronavirus in 10 different prisons.

The number of cases, which the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said was accurate as of 1pm on Wednesday, has jumped up by six in 24 hours.

Jails in England and Wales were put on immediate lockdown on Tuesday with all visits cancelled as it emerged thousands of staff were in self-isolation.

Jo Farrar, chief executive of the Prison and Probation Service, told the Commons Justice Committee around 4,300 prison and probation staff overall were self-isolating at present.

Some 3,500 were prison staff – representing about 10% of the workforce – and four have tested positive for Covid-19, each in separate jails.

There have been three prisoner escort and custody services staff and eight probation staff who have also tested positive.

Around 50,000 protective masks have been delivered for staff to use and a ban on bringing hand sanitiser into the prison had been lifted.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has hinted he may have to consider some forms of early release for prisoners in a bid to ease pressure on jails during the crisis.

Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: “The risks of infection for people who live and work in prisons are acute, as the Justice Secretary has said.

“So while it is obviously right that the way of life in prisons should change dramatically, just as it has in the wider community, Robert Buckland is right to be considering forms of early release.

“In a chronically overcrowded system, this will help keep people safe by reducing the pressure on both space and staff resources.

“For this to work, there will need to be support to organisations, many of them charities, that help prisoners on release.

“And it’s vital that while creating some headroom through releases, the flow of people into prisons is also drastically reduced.

“That means not sending anyone to prison for all but the most serious alleged or proved offending, and not recalling people to prison in all but the most dangerous of circumstances.”

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Video>> Watch the Justice Secretary giving evidence about Prisons and Covid-19 to the Justice Select Committee on 24th March 2020


Prison visits are temporarily suspended following instructions for people to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

We will update you here as soon as this changes.

Currently HMPPS state there are 13 inmates who have tested positive for Covid-19 but they expect this number to increase

There are a number of other ways to contact someone in prison if you are unable to visit them.

You can:

You can also contact the Prisoners’ Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003.

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