Bishop of Rochester asks Government about Covid-19 cases in prisons

On 30th June the Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, received a written answer to a question from Lord Keen of Elie on Covid-19 in prisons.

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: HL5099 To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) prisoners, and (2) staff, were (a) suspected of having, (b) confirmed as having, (3) hospitalised as a result of, and (4) died from, COVID-19 in prisons in England, broken down by region.

Lord Keen of Elie: The data requested can be found below and is correct as of Friday 19 June.

Please note, for the number of staff suspected of having Covid-19 the guidance was changed on 20 April so that symptomatic staff members could be identified separately. Before 20 April all staff members who were isolating under the PHE guidance were counted and those who were symptomatic could not be identified specifically. This may have slightly overestimated the number of symptomatic staff before 20 April. For some regions this data has been backdated so the total number of staff suspected of having Covid-19 is known.

On 24 April, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced the rollout of Covid-19 testing for all essential workers and symptomatic members of their household, including prison staff.

From 15 April, due to the sufficient availability of testing supplies all symptomatic prisoners were tested.

RegionStaff suspected of having Covid-19Staff confirmed as having Covid-19Staff hospitalised as a result of Covid-19Staff deaths as a result of Covid-19
RegionPrisoners suspected of having Covid-19Prisoners confirmed as having Covid-19Prisoners hospitalised as a result of Covid-19Prisoner deaths as a result of Covid-19
Region 161281~2
Region 24885873
Region 3725118104
Region 445519~3
Region 525218105
Region 6513549
Region 74195484

Regions by prison group:

Region 1 – Cumbria and Lancashire; Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire

Region 2 – Yorkshire; Tees and Wear

Region 3 – North Midlands; West Midlands; East Midlands

Region 4 – Avon and South Dorset; South Central; Devon and North Dorset

Region 5 – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk; Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk

Region 6 – London; Kent, Surrey and Sussex

Region 7 – Long Term and High Security Estate


– Staff suspected of having Covid-19 have been calculated as staff who are on sickness absence or showing symptoms. There may be other staff with suspected Covid-19 who are in the self-isolating category not included here.

– Prisoners suspected of having Covid-19 have been calculated as prisoners recorded as displaying symptoms.

– Some staff or prisoners may be counted twice if they have had two periods of symptoms.

– Confirmed staff cases are self-reported.

– Staff and prisoner hospitalisations have been calculated as those who have tested positive and have been hospitalised. The hospitalisation may not have been as a result of Covid-19 in some cases, and there may be other cases where Covid-19 has not been confirmed which are included here.

– These numbers include all historic cases, many of which are now closed.

– Data for staff deaths represents individuals that have been confirmed as having Covid-19, though it is not necessarily the cause of death.

– Data for prisoner deaths represents individuals where Covid-19 is suspected to be the cause.

– These tables include silver command regions 1 to 7 which cover prisons in England, but also include 2 STCs and 1 IRC.

– Staff figures contain both directly and non-directly employed staff.

– The symbol ~ denotes suppressed values of 4 or fewer to avoid the risk of identifying individuals.

– These figures have been drawn from the daily HMPPS Covid-19 reports. Care is taken when processing and analysing the returns but the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.

The Ministry of Justice has started publishing a weekly release of Covid-19 related statistics. This includes confirmed Covid-19 cases in prisoners and children in custody; and deaths among prisoners and children in custody where Covid-19 is suspected to be the cause.

The statistics release can be found here each Friday:

Please note, this publication provides statistics for prisons across England and Wales, the data in the tables above relates to prisons in England only.

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