The POA have confirmed that Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland intends to begin the early release of low risk prisoners as early as next week. In a private meeting today with the POA the Lord Chancellor confirmed that up to 4000 prisoners within the last two months of their Automatic Early Release date would be released from Prisons under home detention curfew conditions, which requires them to wear an ankle tag and have stable accommodation in place. This would relieve the pressure on frontline staff and the prison system during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Commenting on these developments National Chair Mark Fairhurst welcomed the decision:

“I welcome any measures that relieve the pressure on our brave frontline staff during these unprecedented times and I support this declaration by the Secretary of State for Justice. It is essential that those being released pose no risk to the public and get tested for CIOVID 19 prior to release. Victims of crime should not be forgotten when such decisions are made and a balance must be struck between the safety of staff and the general public”.

General Secretary Steve Gillan also welcomed the decision.

“This is a good decision by the Lord Chancellor and one in which I support. This is critical to free up spaces in our jails and could be the difference between life and death during this pandemic. This needs to be done quickly and effectively if it is to have any impact on our over crowded Prisons. Safety of our members and those in our care are essential during this COVID-19 crisis. But there can be no delay in these Executive releases as each day is critical to stopping the virus spreading in our prison system”.



For further information, contact:
POA Press Office 020 8803 0255 Option 7

Representing over 30,000 Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, the POA is the largest UK Union in this sector, able to trace its roots back more than 100 years.