Covid-19 precautions for Prison visits (FOI)
Covid-19 precautions for Prison visits (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 26 August 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
When can prisoners hug / hold their children and loved ones again?
When can usual visits restart?
Will family visits come back?
Shielding the prisoners away from viruses will only make it worse for when they depart. They will have zero immunity and become very ill.
To keep them away from their families is also destroying their mental health.
Why people go out for two hours isolation, pubs and more but a prisoner can’t even hold their child and can only visit through glass is ridiculous.
Please state the dates of returning normal visits. And a clear explanation as to why it is taking so long to allow it.
The Prison has a policy of amending regimes two to three weeks after Government of Jersey guidelines are changed. The reason for making changes later is to observe the impact of the changes to guidelines in the community before changes are implemented in the Prison.
Any changes made to COVID-19 related restrictions, as part of the Government of Jersey’s move to Phase seven of the reconnection strategy on 26 August, will be discussed and agreed in the September monthly COVID-19 strategy meeting.
Usual, (or physical visits), have been back in place for several months but have been restricted to half of the usual timetable available to ensure that it is possible to adhere to social distancing measures as per Government of Jersey guidelines.
Yes, family visits will make a return when it is deemed safe enough to do so. This will be discussed at the COVID-19 strategy meeting scheduled in September 2021. The Prison is currently following Care-Home guidelines in relation to visits and physical contact
These guidelines include:
Shielding is optional for prisoners. The Prison have a duty of care to protect everyone but have offered higher levels of protection to prisoners with underlying health concerns. Prisoners may elect to remain on their own wing and not have any additional protective measures.
The prison is not keeping prisoners from seeing their families. The measures in place are the same as those in care homes for elderly people, but with more flexibility applied in terms of number of visitors and age of children able to visit. Extra visiting facilities such as video visit access have also been provided to ensure prisoners have access to their loved ones.
Children under the age of eight years old are not required to have their own seat in the visits room and therefore, could be moving around a crowded room with other prisoners and visitors in it. This makes any spread of COVID-19 a higher risk, especially with their parent who they may naturally want to hug and so on. The prison is fully aware of the impact of restricted contact. This will be reviewed at the next COVID-19 strategy meeting in September 2021.
As explained above normal or physical visits have been back up and running for several months although there are restrictions in place. The prison was required to reduce the capacity in the visits hall to adhere to social distancing rules, which reduced the number of visits possible.
To ensure fairness for all prisoners, their weekly allocation of physical visits was reduced to allow them the same chance to have one physical visit per week. Should a prisoner be entitled to more than one visit per week, then they have the option to have a Purple Visit, (virtual visit). This will be discussed at the next COVID strategy meeting in September 2021 to assess whether the full room can be used. If this is agreed, then the prison will be able to offer prisoners more physical visits per week.