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16 March 2020

Government publishes guidance for reducing risk of COVID-19 transmission in prisons and other places of detention

Introduced by

Ministry of Justice, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service

Targeted at

Prisons and other prescribed places of detention


Published on 16 March 2020. Later updated, eg on 24 March an addition stating that prison visits are temporarily cancelled

Stated aims

To keep prisoners and staff safe and prevent the spread of the virus


The guidance announces that prison visits are temporarily suspended. The usual regime in prisons has been paused temporarily to apply social distancing. This means prisoners can no longer take part in usual recreational activities such as using the gym, going to worship or visiting the library. Only essential workers such as kitchen staff or wing cleaners will continue with their jobs but people will still get paid. All face-to-face Parole Board hearings and new jury trials have been temporarily suspended. The Parole Board will progress cases through a combination of remote hearings and a paper review process, sometimes combined with case management hearings.


Gov.uk guidance