Covid-19 in custody: Responding to pandemics in prisons in England and Wales
COVID-19 was first detected in the prison estate in England and Wales in March 2020 and spread rapidly amongst prisoners and staff. A range of policy initiatives were introduced in an attempt to improve the ability for social distancing within the prison estate, reduce the transmission of the disease within prisons and to manage cases as they arose. Policies which involved the temporary release of prisoners, increasing accommodation levels within the estate and cohorting of prisoners presenting with symptoms were all introduced in an attempt to mitigate against the impact of the disease. These policies were neither effective nor implemented in a timely manner and the delay risked increasing the spread of the disease throughout the prison estate. Drawing upon evidence from both public health and social policy research, the following commentary discusses the impact of COVID-19 within the prison estate, along with the impact of a policy approach which was lacking in both timeliness and action on the effective management of pandemics in prison.
- Social Sciences
- Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies