Inmate at HMP Manchester tests positive for virus as campaigners call on ministers to urgently release some of prison population or risk ‘death sentence’ for many.
A prisoner has tested positive for coronavirus in what is the first confirmed case of an inmate contracting the disease in the UK.
The inmate had been at HMP Manchester and is currently in hospital. No other prison staff or prisoners at the facility have tested positive, but 13 prisoners and four members of staff have been put into isolation as a precaution, a prison service spokesperson said.
It comes after a prison officer tested positive for coronavirus in Surrey at HMP High Down on Saturday. Four prisoners are believed to have been placed in isolation as a precaution.
“People in prisons and jails are uniquely vulnerable to coronavirus. Officials must act quickly to pull together a plan to ensure the safety of incarcerated people, medical staff, and correctional officers.”
“SACRAMENTO — The California state prison system is suspending rehabilitation programs, postponing parole hearings, and halting all out-of-state transfers, the latest in a slew of restrictions that have come in response to concerns over COVID-19.
Starting on Tuesday, the prisons stopped classes, rehabilitation programs, and group events, such as anger management, and barred anyone who helps provide these programs from entering prison ground. The move affects all 33 prisons in California.”
In a national emergency, governments typically pursue punitive law-enforcement agendas. They can also repurpose prisons and prisoners for forced labour, war efforts and so on.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have tended towards punitive controls and sanctions on movement and hoarding.
Experts warn prisons and jails aren’t ready for a pandemic — and that could hurt everyone else too.
The next site of a deadly coronavirus outbreak may not be a cruise ship, conference, or school. It could be one of America’s thousands of jails or prisons.
Just about all the concerns about coronavirus’s spread in packed social settings apply as much, if not more, to correctional settings. In a prison, multiple people can be placed in one cell. Hallways and gathering places are often small and tight (often deliberately so, to make it easier to control inmates). There is literally no escape, with little to no space for social distancing or similar recommendations experts make to combat coronavirus. Hand sanitizer can be contraband.
When two inspectors showed up at a juvenile prison in north Texas late last year, they heard about kids beating each other up, recruiting for gangs and dismantling their cinder-block cells. One kid had begun extorting his peers so he could hoard basic hygiene supplies; another said he was so scared of getting robbed he’d started carrying around his shampoo.
But if that chaos is continuing at the Gainesville State School, there’s no real way to know: The state’s independent monitor for juvenile prisons has suspended its monthly visits because of COVID-19. So has the agency that oversees conditions in local jails in Texas.