The number of inmates at HMP Isle of Wight who have contracted coronavirus has been released as part of new data from the Home Office.
The data publicised by the Prison Reform Trust, covering the time between March 2020 and January of this year, also shows that one inmate has died within the jail within four weeks of contracting COVID-19.
It comes as last week (24th March) marked one year since prisons in England were told to temporarily close to visitors following Government instructions for people to stay at home, with the charity running a project focussing on hearing from the hundreds of people in prison about the reality of daily life and near-total isolation behind cell doors for the last 12 months.
Senior Policy Officer at the Prison Reform Trust, Alex Hewson, said:
“A year on since restrictions were introduced, saving lives has come at a huge price for prisoners and their families.
“Rather than following the advice of their own health experts to reduce prison numbers significantly, ministers chose to enforce a near 24-hour lockdown of people to their six by nine-foot prison cell – often with another person and almost nothing to do.
“Twelve months on that remains the case. Releases would have afforded prison staff the vital breathing space to protect lives whilst also protecting efforts for rehabilitation.”
Measures to try to alleviate the issues faced by those inside have been introduced by the Prison Service, including video-call technology to allow prisoners and families to stay in touch and specialist officers giving mental health support.