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Report by Professor Richard Coker, Emeritus Professor of Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, on Covid-19 and prisons in England and Wales

31 March 2020

“My view, based on the literature and my experience, is that prison should be a last resort only and that the risks posed to prisoners and staff are substantial and profound in terms of their health. Prisoners who need not be incarcerated and who could conduct social distancing in the community under appropriate supervision would, logically, be following the Government’s recently published broader guidance on social distancing. Maintaining such people in prison unnecessarily would be counter to that guidance, in my opinion.

“In my opinion authorities should consider alternative options to incarceration where feasible that avoids congregate settings, where social distancing and isolation/quarantine are measures that are consistent with the most recent, March 20th 2020 guidelines for others in protecting public health.

“Where there is no possibility of removal from incarceration, I would advise that stringent measures should be taken to protect prisoners and staff.”

Read the full report

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