Our work and response to Covid-19

17/03/2020 13:00:00

Like all organisations and individuals the Prison Reform Trust has been closely monitoring the developments and government advice following the Covid-19 outbreak. The safety of those who live and work in our prisons and that of PRT staff is our priority. In light of the latest government advice we are taking the following measures to uphold our collective safety, whilst continuing to deliver vital services to those in prison.

  • All planned visits to prisons by PRT staff have been cancelled.

  • From today until further notice PRT staff will where possible work from home.

However, it is important that as an organisation we continue to be an impartial and authoritative source of advice and information for people in prison at this understandably confusing and challenging time.

  • Our advice service will continue to be available to people in prison. However, from today the service will be limited to written enquiries as we are no longer able to provide a consistent telephone advice service.

  • Any written enquiries to the advice and information team will be read and responded to. However, response times may take longer than usual, so please do bear with us.

  • For anyone calling our office or advice line, an answerphone message will direct them to the government’s advice and guidance for prisons and encourage them to leave a message if they have concerns about their or another person’s welfare.

  • Any messages left on our answerphone will be checked and responded to, and we will continue to work with prisons constructively during this difficult time.

Whilst the focus for government and our prisons will rightly be on how best to respond to Covid-19, the Prison Reform Trust continues to have an important role to monitor as best we can how people in prison and their families are being looked after, and to be as constructive and imaginative as possible in suggesting ideas for mitigating their suffering.

This is understandably a worrying time for anyone with a loved one in prison. The government has published guidance about visiting prisons during the coronavirus outbreak, which is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-and-prisons.

The prisons minister, Lucy Frazer has outlined the government’s response to Covid-19 in prisons, and guidance has been issued to all prisons which is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-prisons-and-other-prescribed-places-of-detention-guidance

Peter Dawson

How to get in touch

If you are a family member or a friend of someone in prison you may wish to contact the Prisoners' Families Helpline on 0808 808 2003 between 9am and 8pm.

Our Advice and Information service is currently unable to take calls. You can still contact our service in the following ways:

  • Leave a short voicemail on our freephone number - 0808 802 0060
  • Write to us at Prison Reform Trust, FREEPOST ND 6125, London EC1B 1PN
  • email us at advice@prisonreformtrust.org.uk

We will do our best to respond to all enquiries as quickly as possible.

For any urgent media enquiries please call 0207 689 7746 or 0207 689 7732