Friday 9 October 2020 / 3:45 PM David Lammy / Justice

Labour warns against ‘complacency’ as coronavirus second spike hits prisons

In September, prisons experienced their highest monthly increase in coronavirus infection rates since May, with three quarters of prisons reporting confirmed cases. 

The net increase of 70 coronavirus cases reported in prisons last month is twice the rate of increase in August and six times as high as in July. 

David Lammy MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, said: 

“The sudden jump in coronavirus cases in prisons is very concerning and should act as a warning against complacency in the Ministry of Justice.

“We know from explosions of coronavirus cases among prison populations in other countries that prisons can be ticking time bombs in this pandemic. Major outbreaks in prisons will not only cause unnecessary deaths of prisoners and staff, they can overwhelm local hospitals and spread the virus outside of their walls.

“To prevent the virus from getting out of control in prisons, Ministers need to do more to meet their target headroom across the prison estate of 5,500, as outlined by Public Health England and HMPPS. Alongside this, the government needs to urgently fix coronavirus testing and tracing across the population as a whole.”