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How Have Prisoners Been Coping During Covid-19?

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In March when the country went into lockdown, so did prisons. Prisoners were confined to their cells for 23 hours’ a day and restrictions placed on exercising and showering to try and stop the spread. Visitation was stopped, and when back open again social distance measures were applied. As the restrictions eased for us, they started to ease for prisons, however, education and training opportunities were reduced.

This has had a detrimental effect on prisoners; one of my candidates who works in a prison in the Midlands said, “Prisoners' mental health is becoming a problem as the time they get to socialise and get fresh air is being vastly reduced.” The Chief Inspector of Prisons published his annual report stating that the measures were unsustainable and could cause irreparable damage to inmates’ futures.

So what are prison staff doing to help? Paul, who is a prison officer in London, said that he is making sure he speaks to the prisoners as much as possible while doing his rounds to make sure their mental health doesn’t deteriorate as he knows how difficult it must be not being able to see family and friends. A lot of staff, including one of my candidates, Michelle, a Mental Health Nurse in the North West, are picking up extra shifts to help out where and when they can.

Thankfully, there are organisations and charities out there, as well as healthcare professionals dedicated to helping prisoners during this very difficult time.

If you are looking to get involved and support other prison staff, whether it be in an operational or medical capacity, please get in contact with Sean to discuss potential roles in your area.
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