UK prisons

  1. Prisoners to make PPE for NHS staff

    Manchester Metropolitan University is working with prisons across the UK to mass manufacture medical gear that will be distributed across the North West.

    A prison officer locking a door

    The scheme was launched by the Manchester Fashion Institute following a call for help from an NHS trust in the North West.

    The university contacted Public Sector Prison Industries, who have launched several workshops in prisons that aim to produce thousands of medical scrubs.

    The university also hopes it will provide prisoners with work experience that they can use after being released.

    Professor Liz Barnes, head of Manchester Fashion Institute, said:

    Quote Message: We are pleased this partnership enables us to contribute to the national effort in our response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  2. Parole Board struggling to release prisoners

    Alice Porter

    BBC News

    The Parole Board for England and Wales has said it is struggling to safely release some of Britain’s most serious criminals during the pandemic.

    Normally the board conducts face-to-face hearings in prison to determine whether inmates can be safely released but this has stopped. Of the 2,500 hearings which were due to happen between March and June, only 350 have gone ahead remotely.

    Martin Jones, chief executive of the Parole Board, admitted increasing prisoners' time in incarceration could lead to legal challenges at a later point.

    There are significant challenges in assessing serious criminals via phone or video. Around 1,000 decisions on parole were made in March, roughly half the normal figure, with only 150 prisoners released.

    A major problem for the Probation and Prison Service as well as the Parole Board, is that it is challenging under lockdown to conduct normal risk assessments and make sure prisoners have a safe address to move to.

    The government recently announced that 4,000 low risk prisoners, who would not need to be assessed by the parole board, were being released early, to ease the pressure on prisons.