“Prisons becoming crucibles For Coronavirus”, Says PCC Candidate

June 26, 2020 2:21 PM
By Kate Smith

While the rest of us are encouraged to venture out following the Coronavirus "peak", prisons are a hidden hotspot, says Derbyshire Lib Dems' Policing spokesperson Kate Smith.

Statistics issued in late May 2020 by Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) show that there has been a shocking jump in prison staff testing positive with Coronavirus - to 873 - across England and Wales. This is without counting the increasing numbers of prison officers absent for self-isolation, either for a household member or because they have symptoms themselves.

Kate Smith outside Alfreton Police Station (Kate Smith)

Kate Smith

Kate, who is the Liberal Democrats' Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, says, "These figures show that the Government is allowing prisons to become a crucible for the virus."

The Party's Justice Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP has been calling for release of all low-risk offenders for several months, and adds: "While the Government refuse to do this, there is little chance of social distancing in most of the prisons estate. This puts the health of both staff and prisoners, as well as our broader communities, at risk."

Kate emphasises, "The Government must listen to Prison Governors' concerns and end all overcrowding before the results become even worse. Lib Dems are calling for Ministers to release all low-risk offenders serving sentences under six months, and to suspend any new short sentences still at the Court stage. I agree with Daisy Cooper - with tough Licence conditions and electronic tagging, HMPPS can keep us all safe from both crime and the spread of the Coronavirus."