Early release of prisoners

Risk-assessed prisoners who are within two months of their release date will be released from jail, as part of the national plan to protect the NHS. This action is said to be necessary to avoid thousands of prisoners becoming infected, overwhelming local NHS services.

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 start from next week.

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 their custodial term. Additionally, no offender 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.

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