ID: COV-021 03 Nov 2020

Responses Taken to Mitigate COVID-19 in Prisons in England and Wales

The purpose of this paper is to discuss and evaluate how prison administrators in England and Wales responded to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the United Kingdom (UK) in late January 2020. In the days that followed, the number of positive cases grew exponentially; by the end of March thousands of new cases were detected daily and several hundred people had died of COVID-19. In response to the pandemic crisis, Prime Minster Boris Johnson mandated a national lockdown on March 23 and prison administrators were told to immediately begin implementing Exceptional Regime Management Plans. These Plans included (1) strategies to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus within prisons, (2) measures to reduce the potential for the virus to enter prisons, and (3) methods to manage prison populations in order to contain the virus. Overall, 6 months into the coronavirus crisis, the adopted measures appear to have helped curtail the spread of the virus within prisons, but at a great cost to the inmates and their families. (COV-021)

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