First Orange County inmate tests positive for coronavirus

Grant Boone
March 25, 2020

MP Robert Buckland told the House of Commons that 4000 prison staff out of 34,000 are now self-isolating.

The Supreme Court had earlier advised the judiciary officials to release prisoners, who were involved in theft, assault and other petty cases, on bail.

In England and Wales, 13 prisoners have tested positive for the coronavirus.

He stated that he could have to contemplate the choice of releasing a number of prisoners early to "alleviate pressures".

Mr Buckland said he was looking "very carefully" at whether or not 50 pregnant prisoners could be released.

The key problems are that the prisons are at near capacity, many inmates suffer underlying health problems including 1,800 so vulnerable they would be eligible for the Government's shielding initiative and many share cells.

All visits have been cancelled to jails in England and Wales as the outbreak worsens.

This lockdown in prisons implies that inmates are locked up of their cell for over 23 hours a day.

Essential prison workers such as kitchen and laundry workers and cleaners who will be unlocked to attend work will have to follow the same rules.

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The Jail Officer Affiliation (POA) stated prisoners will exclusively be allowed out of their cells to entry showers, telephones and train - with social distancing restrictions in place.

No social visits will probably be allowed.

The Prison Officer Association said prisoners due at court will be discharged to attend unless the courts' service advise us otherwise.

The visits won't restart for at the least three weeks whereas prisons set up new long-term security preparations.

POA, the union which represents prison officers, praised the decision to place prisons on immediate lockdown.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said 55 prisons across England and Wales would be given 900 phones to allow prisoners to stay in touch with family members during the ban.

"That is whereas we guarantee secure and safe functioning of our prisons whereas implementing social distancing".

As of writing this article, there have been 424,114 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus throughout the world.

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