Suffolk jails build 48 temporary cells built to stop spread of coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 08:19 18 May 2020 | UPDATED: 08:19 18 May 2020
A total of 48 temporary cells have been built in the grounds of two Suffolk prisons to stop the spread of Covid-19.
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.
Figures released by Lord Keen, government justice spokesman in the House of Lords, in response to a parliamentary question now reveal that 24 temporary units have been built at Hollesley Bay, near Woodbridge, along with 24 at Highpoint prison, near Newmarket.
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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A total of 447 similar temporary cells have been built at prisons across the country.
In response to the parliamentary question, Lord Keen said: “Our ambition is to secure and install around 2,000 additional cells to help contain the spread of Covid-19 within our prisons.
“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.
“Once the units are no longer required, they will be removed.
“We continue to consider other suitable locations based on whether extra accommodation is needed and if there is sufficient space.”
The low-risk offenders who have been selected for early release are electronically tagged and temporarily released on licence in stages, although they can be recalled at the first sign of concern.
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