Coronavirus: How many cases in Suffolk’s prisons?
PUBLISHED: 06:42 16 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:16 16 June 2020
Twelve people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Suffolk prisons since the pandemic broke out, statistics have revealed.
All 12 coronavirus cases in the county’s jails have been at HMP Highpoint, near Newmarket, with none recorded at Hollesley Bay nor Warren Hill, both near Woodbridge.
The figures were released in response to a parliamentary question about the number of cases of the illness in UK jails.
Highpoint and Hollesley Bay have built a total of 48 temporary cells to quarantine prisoners with the disease and prevent it from spreading, with each jail taking 24 each.
MORE: Suffolk jails build 48 temporary cells built to stop spread of coronavirus
The single occupancy temporary cells, which will be removed when no longer needed, are where lower risk category C and D offenders are held until risk assessments are carried out.
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House of Lords government justice spokesman Lord Keen said: “These cells are a temporary measure to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. Prisoners will return to their usual accommodation arrangements when safe to do so.”
The statistics, correct as of Friday, June 5, show all of the 12 coronavirus cases at Highpoint have been staff cases.
However, justice minister Lucy Frazer said: “The numbers reported will be affected by a number of variables, including the availability of testing locally which can result in differences between sites and regions.”
In response to the parliamentary question, she added: “The government has put robust measures in place to protect staff and offenders from Covid-19 and introduce ‘compartmentalisation’, to isolate those prisoners with symptoms, shield the vulnerable and quarantine new arrivals.”
Early on in the crisis, campaigners called on the government to urgently cut the number of people behind bars early on during the coronavirus crisis, in a bid to avoid an “intolerable human cost” of the pandemic.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) later announced up to 4,000 low-risk prisoners would be temporarily released from jail to try to control the spread of the illness.
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