Coronavirus: 'There will be deaths' in prisons, Governors boss warns

13 March 2020, 07:37

Mrs Albutt said prisons had a large number of vulnerable prisoners
Mrs Albutt said prisons had a large number of vulnerable prisoners. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The President of the Prison Governors Association has warned inmates were likely to die as the spread of coronavirus worsened in the UK.

Andrea Albutt said prison governors would "attempt to keep (family) visits going for as long as they can", while weighing up the public health risk to prisoners and managing staff shortages due to employees self-isolating or being off with coronavirus.

Ms Albutt told the BBC: "We have approximately 85,000 people in our prisons and prisons are overcrowded, so when you have a lot of people in a small area, transmission of disease will obviously be easier.

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"Coupled with that, we have a significant ageing population - the vulnerable groups, the people the Government keeps telling us will be more susceptible and more ill with this virus.

"Listening to the Government's specialists yesterday, they are saying the mortality rate is below 1% but in the vulnerable groups it is higher.

"Well, in prisons we don't completely mirror society with our demographic of prisoners so we do have a higher number of people in the vulnerable groups, so they will be ill and there will be deaths."