Release HMP Prisoners due to COVID-19 - temporary release, licence, tag, curfew

On behalf of all UK Prisoner’s families, we urge the release of prisoners during COVID-19. We understand restrictions must be imposed so maybe ‘vulnerable’ prisoners (elderly, health conditions), low risk prisoners & less time on their sentence. EVERY HUMAN HAS THE RIGHT TO LIVE HEALTHY!

49,568 Signatures


Status: Open
Opened: 1 Apr 2020, 2:43 p.m.
Daily signature rate : 254
Estimated Final Signatures: 49,696

Daily Rank: #2494 • Weekly Rank: #485 • Total Rank: #34


We request the Government to take action immediately amidst COVID-19.

There have been multiple cases of Coronavirus in UK Prisons already.
1) This is likely to spread rapidly as prisons are small enclosed spaces
2) Increasingly staff are reporting being ill, the numbers of staff per prison is decreasing & prisoners are not given the appropriate care/food/management
3) There is a risk to ALL staff and prisoners working within HMP with the virus amongst us


Government Response

The Government has announced up to 4000 low risk and vulnerable offenders will be temporarily released. They will be subject to strict licence conditions, risk assessment, and electronic monitoring.


The Government’s priority is to do whatever is necessary to protect the NHS and save lives. The Ministry of Justice is equally determined to protect those who live and work in prisons from harm and ensure the stability of our jails.

Public Health England has advised that without action, coronavirus could spread rapidly in prisons due to the close proximity in which prisoners live, overwhelming local NHS services and putting the lives of prisoners, staff and people outside the prison system at risk. It is for these reasons, and in response to the current unprecedented emergency, that on Saturday 4 April, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice announced that carefully risk-assessed prisoners, who are already within two months of their release date will be temporarily released from prison.

Prisoners who pass the criteria for release will be subject to strict conditions, and will be electronically monitored, including with GPS tags, to enforce the requirement to stay at home. They can be immediately recalled to prison for breaching these conditions or committing further offences. The releases will be phased over time but can start from the week commencing 6 April.

The Government has also previously announced that pregnant women in custody who do not pose a high risk of harm to the public will be temporarily released from prison to protect them and their unborn children from coronavirus. Prisoners in Mother and Baby Units meeting the same risk assessment will also be released with their children.

Public protection is paramount, and therefore no high-risk offenders, including those convicted of violent or sexual offences, anyone of national security concern or a danger to children, will be considered for release, nor any prisoners who have not served at least half of their custodial term. Additionally, no offenders convicted of COVID-19 related offences, including coughing at emergency workers or stealing personal protective equipment, will be eligible. No prisoner would be released if they have symptoms of coronavirus or without housing and health support being in place.

We do not take this decision, or our duty of care to prisoners and staff, lightly. Alongside this we are also working to identify publicly owned sites that could be used to house temporary prison accommodation to ease pressure on the permanent estate, and allow us to further separate prisoners and reduce the spread of the virus. We are also working with the judiciary to expedite sentencing hearings for those on remand to reduce the numbers being held in custody.

There will be some vulnerable prisoners who will not be suitable for release owing to the risk they pose to the public, and to protect them we have provided guidance to prisons on measures to take to shield vulnerable people. This includes the creation of shielding units, which are a specific part of a prison designated to house those required to socially shield themselves.

Ministry of Justice.


Top 10 Constituency Signatories to the Petition

Constituency Signatures % of Total Signatures MP Party-Constituency
502 1.01% Ms Lyn Brown Labour
West Ham
490 0.99% Naz Shah Labour
Bradford West
488 0.99% Imran Hussain Labour
Bradford East
451 0.91% Liam Byrne Labour
Birmingham, Hodge Hill
450 0.91% Dawn Butler Labour
Brent Central
428 0.86% Shabana Mahmood Labour
Birmingham, Ladywood
424 0.86% Apsana Begum Labour
Poplar and Limehouse
417 0.84% Kate Osamor Labour (Co-op)
Edmonton
400 0.81% Meg Hillier Labour (Co-op)
Hackney South and Shoreditch
400 0.81% Mr David Lammy Labour
Tottenham
View All Constituency Signatures

Top 50 Constituencies by Number of Signatures

15,614 signatures - 32.0% of total

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