The government and Prison Service in England and Wales think that they have a good story to tell on coronavirus in prisons.
The distressing news yesterday that five prisoners killed themselves in prisons in England and Wales over six days is a reminder, if such is needed, of prison's dreadful toll of misery and despair.
This week it emerged that prisoners with coronavirus symptoms have been locked in their cells in Wandsworth prison for up to 14 days at a stretch.
Last September a woman on remand in Bronzefield prison gave birth, alone, in her cell. The baby died.
As the government finalises its plans for easing the lockdown, the lockdown in prisons looks set to intensify.
A regrettable feature of the current coronarvirus crisis is the government using it as an excuse to expand prison capacity, rather than as a prompt to address our crisis of overincarceration.
'The virus doesn’t care if you’re an officer or a prisoner. If a prisoner has it today, the officers will have it tomorrow and the officer’s family will have it the day after that.'
He continued, ‘If you set out to create an institution with the express intent of concentrating and transmitting Covid-19, it would probably look much like a prison.’
At least 10,000 to 15,000 prisoners need to be released from the prison system, to allow for single cells, but the...
Another week, and the signs are that the problem of coronavirus crisis in prisons continues to get worse.
Following lockdowns and social distancing, some encouraging signs of the beginnings of a slowdown in the spread of COVID-19.
In a new comment piece, our director Richard Garside sets out some of the ways we plan to respond to the growing coronavirus crisis in prisons.
'If an institution was to be invented with the express intention of maximising the spread of coronavirus, and of concentrating it among those most likely to be vulnerable to it', Richard writes, 'that institution would probably look much like a prison.'
Richard's article covers some of...
In a few short weeks, we have all had to adjust to a very different reality.