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UK News 200 UK prisoners released early because of coronavirus

20:51  30 march  2020
20:51  30 march  2020 Source:   uk.news.yahoo.com

Coronavirus: will the UK government release prisoners?

  Coronavirus: will the UK government release prisoners? Campaigners say the move would save lives of inmates and officersThe Prisoners’ Advice Service has told the Ministry of Justice that these measures will have “no discernible effect on the crime rate”, but will “allow prisons to implement strategies for safely managing and caring” for prisoners who remain behind bars.

Up to 200 prisoners will be given a temporary early release in Northern Ireland in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus . There is yet to be a confirmed case of coronavirus in the region's prisons , but Northern Ireland Justice Minister, Naomi Long, said that, in anticipation of that moment and

Prisoners nearing the end of their sentences may be released as early as next week to halt the spread of coronavirus in Scotland's jails. Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf told The Nine staff absences due to the rate of infection had put a major strain on the Scottish Prison Service. Mr Yousaf described the

a close up of a sign: Embargoed to 0001 on Tuesday November 27 Previously unissued photo dated 19/11/2018 of Maghaberry Prison, as the prison once branded dangerous and Dickensian has made immensely encouraging progress, a report has said. © Provided by Yahoo! News UK Embargoed to 0001 on Tuesday November 27 Previously unissued photo dated 19/11/2018 of Maghaberry Prison, as the prison once branded dangerous and Dickensian has made immensely encouraging progress, a report has said. a blurry photo of a forest © Yahoo News UK

Some prisoners are set to be temporarily released from Northern Ireland's prisons as the government moves to prevent a coronavirus outbreak in jails.

Northern Ireland's justice minister Naomi Long announced that "fewer than 200" individuals who are entering the last three months of their sentence will be assessed against criteria.

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  Coronavirus Scotland: Calls to free short-term prisoners from crowded jails Some inmates at Barlinnie in Glasgow are sharing a cell with two other people making it impossible to self isolate if anyone has symptoms.Overcrowding has meant many prisoners have to share bunk beds with a cellmate - which was meant to be phased put more than 30 years ago.

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There are currently 1,521 prisoners in Northern Ireland.

Long said that this is due to dwindling staffing levels because 163 prison officers - out of a 1,200-strong workforce - are off-duty and self-isolating due to COVID-19.

Although there is yet to be a confirmed case of coronavirus in the region’s prisons, it is now considered "necessary to release some prisoners early”.

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Naomi Long wearing a black shirt: Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland Naomi Long speaks to the press after leaving following a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street in London, Thursday June 15, 2017. The Prime Minster is meeting with Northern Ireland's five main parties as talks continue between the Conservatives and the DUP about an agreement to support a minority Conservative government. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland) © Provided by Yahoo! News UK Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland Naomi Long speaks to the press after leaving following a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street in London, Thursday June 15, 2017. The Prime Minster is meeting with Northern Ireland's five main parties as talks continue between the Conservatives and the DUP about an agreement to support a minority Conservative government. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Early release will not apply to prisoners detained under the mental health act, convicted of serious offences liker murder sex or terror offences and those deemed a risk.

Coronavirus: Pregnant prisoners 'set to be released early' over fears of Covid-19 spreading through jails

  Coronavirus: Pregnant prisoners 'set to be released early' over fears of Covid-19 spreading through jails Expectant mothers are among high-risk group for coronavirusCoronavirus infections are spreading through prisons, with more than 27 confirmed cases across 14 prisons and at least two deaths.

GOVERNMENT buildings could be turned into prisons amid the coronavirus crisis to avoid releasing inmates early . But ministers have ruled out releasing inmates on short sentences early over fears it will damage public confidence in the justice system.

Naomi Long announces temporary early release of prisoners amid coronavirus crisis ( Prison Service/PA). Chief Constable Simon Byrne. Northern Ireland Justice Minister Naomi Long has taken the decision to temporarily release some prisoners early as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Long described the decision as a “significant one which should only be taken when there is no alternative”.

“Such a move is contrary to the ethos of the justice system and will cause distress to victims and their families,” she said.

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“However, in the context of the pandemic we are facing, and to ensure as far as possible the safety and wellbeing of staff and those in our care, it is, I believe, an appropriate and reasonable step.”

These individuals who will be released will be subject to a number of conditions including a curfew, a requirement to follow all Public Health Agency guidance during the current emergency period, a ban on victim contact, an alcohol ban and a ban on having any engagement with the media.

The release of these prisoners will mean that the number of inmates who are sharing cells would be reduced to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Prisoners released early, trials without juries and video court appearances could become lockdown reality

  Prisoners released early, trials without juries and video court appearances could become lockdown reality The new measures seek to minimise the risk of coronavirus spreading in Scottish court buildings and prisons. The Bill includes radical reforms such as the early release of some prisoners, trials being conducted without juries and court proceedings being conducted via video links. Early release of prisoners will apply either for “the security and good order” of prisons or for the “health, safety or welfare of prisoners, or those working, in any such prison”. However, the new legislation will not apply to all prisoners.

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“We could, of course, open empty accommodation blocks at Maghaberry, but we would need additional staff to operate them and, with the staffing pressures we anticipate, this is simply not an option for us,” Long added.

The world’s jails and prisons are on high alert, with inmate screenings, sanitising jail cells and scaling back or stopping people visiting prisoners altogether to prevent the virus from spreading.

The virus spread incredibly rapidly in China’s prisons early in March, with reports of hundreds of cases spreading across five facilities in three provinces.

Prison authorities in Iran have also released as many as 100,000 prisoners, according to the latest figures.

In the UK, the head of the Prison Officers' Association said there are not any plans yet to release prisoners, but Prison Service is taking steps to make ensure riots did not break out in UK prisons as they have in some Italian jails.

Human rights advocates have warned that increasing tensions over fears of coronavirus are hitting inmates particularly hard, especially after restrictions were imposed on family visits to prevent transmissions.

In Scotland, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said that prisoners who were nearing the end of their sentences could be released as early as next week, in a plan similar to Northern Ireland’s.

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Coronavirus: 3,500 prisoners released since the start of confinement .
These prisoners at the end of their sentence will be "placed under house arrest" and "reincarcerated" in the event of a breach of confinement measures, according to Nicole Belloubet. © LP / Frédéric Dugit Le Parisien Several thousand detainees have left their cells in recent days. To stop from spreading the coronavirus epidemic in French prisons , 3,500 of them have been released since the start of containment measures, announced the Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet to JDD.

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