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The Prison Officers Association have today urged Directors in the Youth Custody Service to suspend all face-to-face education provision with immediate effect until January 6th.
The POA have concerns that the new strain of Covid that is spreading throughout UK prisons and is more likely to affect school age children will have catastrophic consequences in youth prisons if immediate action is not taken. The National Chair Mark Fairhurst has written to the Head of the Youth Custody Service requesting that all face-to-face education is suspended during the festive break, so the risk is reduced.
Speaking today Mark Fairhurst said;
“Now is not the time to risk the safety of school age children in our care. A cautious and sensible approach must be adopted to reduce footfall in our prisons and protect those youngsters in our care who are now being placed unnecessarily at risk. A mini firebreak of face-to-face education will allow us to take stock of the COVID-19 spread over the next few weeks and decide upon next steps. We should not force teachers into our prisons or children to attend education classes when the spread is so rapid and the risk is so great. I hope the YCS Directors heed our concerns and don’t leave me in a position saying I told you so if we experience an avoidable tragedy”.
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.