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18 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Symptomatic inmates at London prison locked in cells for two weeks without showers

By Samuel Horti

Prisoners with symptoms of Covid-19 were locked in their cells for up to two weeks without being allowed to shower, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) has revealed.

Inspectors conducted spot checks at three jails to assess the prison service’s pandemic response: Wandsworth in south London, Altcourse in Liverpool, and Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey. They found that “the vast majority” of inmates were locked up for practically the whole day, and were allowed no more than half an hour outside their cells. 

In a report, Peter Clarke, the chief inspector of prisons, said that in one prison, Wandsworth, a “small number of symptomatic prisoners had been isolated in their cells without any opportunity to come out for a shower or exercise for up to 14 days”.

This system was in put in place after the jail consulted with Public Health England, the report said, and was a result of the “lack of space for a protective isolation unit”.

Earlier today, the Scottish Human Rights Commission found the country’s prison service was breaching the human rights of inmates by confining some to their cells for 24 hours a day without access to showers or outdoor exercise.

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