INFORMATION: COVID-19 IN PRISONS

HM Prison and Probation Service has announced that social visits will gradually be re-introduced in England and Wales from 29 March. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis for each prison, following agreement between HMPPS and public health professionals, and will be reviewed weekly.

Read the full government guidance—including which prisons have resumed visits—and for information on how you can keep in touch with loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic by clicking here.

Find out what we're doing to help ensure that the lives of prisoners, staff and our community are protected during the pandemic by clicking here.

We have established an urgent new project—CAPPTIVE (The Covid Action Prison Project: Tracking Innovation, Valuing Experience). We want to hear from people in prison, and the people who care about them, about their own experience of the pandemic so far. Click here to find out how you can get involved. 

If you know of someone in prison in need of advice and information then click here for details on how they can get in contact with us.

The Ministry of Justice has also posted a Q&A for friends and family of people in prison which you can read by clicking here.

If you are concerned about a person in prison and would like support yourself, click here for details on how to contact the Prisoners' Families Helpline.

The prison service has published guidance about prison releases in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which you can read by clicking here. We have produced a summary of some of the key points, which you can read by clicking here.

The Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody (IAP) has created a Coronavirus Information Hub. This brings together the latest information and responses from the IAP and other national and international sources, on protecting the lives of people in state custody during this unprecedented pandemic.



NEWS

A clear and shared vision of the purpose of imprisonment has been described by prisoners as “essential” in a new report published today (1 December) by the Prison Reform Trust.

The report has been published as prison leaders consider how to “build back better” following nearly two years of severe restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, and a decade of declining standards in jails in England and Wales.

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This week PRT director Peter Dawson and research officer Dr Mia Harris gave oral evidence along with Russell Webster to the House of Commons Justice Committee as part of their inquiry into the sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP).

The evidence session provided an opportunity to highlight the findings of our report 'No life, no freedom, no future' which we published last year on the growing problem of people being recalled back to custody after their release.

You can watch the evidence session on the Parliament website.

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Commenting on the publication of today’s (25 November) prison population projections by the Ministry of Justice, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said:

“The latest projection for the prison population will be portrayed by ministers as a policy success, with more criminals brought to justice. But the detail actually contains multiple admissions of failure. The government is recruiting 23,400 police officers but has no idea whether their time is to be spent preventing crime or chasing after it. Action to reduce reoffending is promised but apparently will have no impact. A strategy to reduce the imprisonment of women will fail so completely that the female prison population will grow by over a third. Inadequate support in the community for people on indeterminate sentences will mean that even more are being needlessly recalled to prison. By 2025, around 30% of our prison population will be over 50 years old, when the peak age for offending is people in their late twenties.

“The price of all these failures is an extra 18,000 people in prison by 2025, costing us all an additional £800m every year, not to mention the £4bn already put aside to build the cells to house them. Exactly why, uniquely in western Europe, we need to lock up so many of our fellow citizens, is never explained. It’s a foolish waste of scarce resources, driven by politics, not evidence.”

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Most women (64%) received into prison are serving short prison sentences of less than 12 months. However, the small minority serving very long determinate or indeterminate sentences are often overlooked in advocacy debates and policy, meaning their experiences are not fully recognised, a new briefing released today by the Prison Reform Trust has revealed.

The briefing has been produced in collaboration with 16 women serving indeterminate sentences as part of the Prison Reform Trust’s Building Futures programme, a five-year project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund to explore the experiences of people who will spend 10 or more years in custody. It is the first in a series which will aim to shed light on the distinct experiences of these often ‘invisible women’ serving long determinate and indeterminate sentences.

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