On 16th June the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, received written answers to three questions on Covid-19 in prisons.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: HL4969 To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prisoners (1) meet the criteria for being considered clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, and (2) are currently following shielding guidelines, broken down by prison.
Lord Keen of Elie: NHS England and NHS Improvement are responsible for commissioning healthcare services in English prisons. Local Health Boards are responsible for prison healthcare services in Wales. Local prison healthcare services hold information on the number of prisoners considered clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19; we do not hold this information centrally.
The number of prisoners currently following shielding guidelines broken down by prison can be found below (data as of Friday, 29 May):
|Prison||Number of prisoners currently shielding||Prison||Number of prisoners currently shielding|
|Askham Grange||9||Lancaster Farms||~|
|Buckley Hall||~||Long Lartin||~|
|Channings Wood||11||Lowdham Grange||5|
|Doncaster||30||North Sea Camp||15|
|Isle of Wight||27||Winchester||16|
- The symbol ~ denotes suppressed values of 3 or fewer (and totals that would allow values of 3 or fewer to be calculated) to avoid the risk of identifying individuals.
Prisons not included in this list did not report having any prisoners shielding at the current time.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: HL4968 To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prisoners are currently sharing a cell with one or more others, broken down by prison.
Lord Keen of Elie: On arrival into custody, all prisoners’ suitability to share a cell is risk assessed. These assessments are based on numerous factors including index offence, health concerns and security information (such as beliefs and prejudices).
Since March, we have introduced strong measures to avoid thousands of prisoners and staff becoming infected with COVID-19. This includes restrictions on movement between jails, the early release of low-risk offenders and the temporary expansion of the prison estate. These measures have helped to contain the spread of the virus and limit deaths. This action has helped to reduce the prison population, allowing establishments to implement ‘compartmentalisation’.
We are installing over 1,000 temporary cells to increase space and help reduce the spread of the virus. These units are being placed where there are the highest number of shared cells, a lack of in-cell sanitation and where there are high numbers of vulnerable prisoners. We have also opened an Annex at HMP/YOI Rochester to hold up to 70 men.
As at 29 May 2020, 35% of the prison population are sharing cells holding two or more people and this is broken down by establishment in the table below. The detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system.
|Prison||Total number of prisoners sharing cells||Proportion||Prison||Total number of prisoners sharing cells||Proportion|
|Bure||10||2%||North Sea Camp||164||41%|
|East Sutton Park||86||98%||Ranby||322||33%|
|Foston Hall||142||46%||Stoke Heath||302||42%|
|High Down||633||56%||Thorn Cross||36||11%|
|Hollesley Bay||44||10%||Warren Hill||0||0%|
|Isle Of Wight||156||15%||Whitemoor||0||0%|
|Lancaster Farms||120||23%||Wormwood Scrubs||601||56%|
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: HL4967 To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) men, and (2) women, have died in prison, or while under probation services, from natural causes that may have been exacerbated by COVID-19.
Lord Keen of Elie: We are working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the justice system as part of the national plan to protect the NHS and save lives. In our prisons and in the community, we are implementing a range of measures to reduce the spread of the transmission of the virus and the numbers of lives sadly lost. This has included the implementation of restricted prison regimes, the early release of low-risk offenders, temporary expansion of the prison estate and the reduction in the number of face-to-face probation meetings.
As of 5pm on Friday, 5 June, we are aware of 21 men and 2 women in prison and 13 men and 2 women under probation supervision who have died from natural causes that may have been exacerbated by contracting COVID-19.