David Lammy MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, responding to the Justice Secretary facing legal action over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak in prisons, said:
“Time is of the essence to prevent our prisons from becoming Covid-19 hotspots. Major outbreaks in prisons will not only cause unnecessary deaths of inmates and staff, they will overwhelm local hospitals and spread the virus across the rest of our communities.
“Thousands of prison staff across the country are still without adequate PPE. There has been sparse testing of prison staff and inmates. And despite the government saying up to 4,000 prisoners needed to be released early to reduce overcrowding and stop the spread of the virus, on Tuesday, only 18 had been released.
“We hope the Justice Secretary takes this warning shot by these leading criminal justice NGOs very seriously. Urgent action is needed to prevent a public health disaster in the justice system.”