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Up To 4000 'Low Risk' Criminals To Be Released To Limit Coronavirus Spread

Up To 4000 'Low Risk' Criminals To Be Released To Limit Coronavirus Spread

Up to 4000 criminals deemed as 'low risk' will be released early from UK prisons, in order to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Prisoners deemed as being in the 'low risk' category could be released up to two months early from their expected release date, to try and halt the spread of coronavirus from tearing through prisons.

Those expected to be released do not include high risk offenders such as those convicted of violent or sexual offences, or any considered a danger to children. Additionally, no offenders convicted of coronavirus related offences such as coughing at emergency workers or stealing personal protective equipment will be eligible for the early release date.

Prisoners released early would still be subject to strict conditions, including wearing electronically tagged GPS tags. Credit: PA
Prisoners released early would still be subject to strict conditions, including wearing electronically tagged GPS tags. Credit: PA
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The Government announced the early release plans today, saying it will help boost the NHS by preventing thousands of prisoners from getting infected and potentially needing emergency care. They explained the decision to release some offenders early is due to prisoners sharing cells, making it easy to spread the virus.

Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland QC MP said: "This Government is committed to ensuring that justice is served to those who break the law.

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"But this is an unprecedented situation because if Coronavirus takes hold in our prisons, the NHS could be overwhelmed and more lives put at risk.

"All prisoners will face a tough risk assessment and must comply with strict conditions, including an electronic tag, while they are closely monitored. Those that do not will be recalled to prison."

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The Government decision comes as 88 prisoners and 15 staff already having tested positive for the covid-19 virus. Credit: PA
The Government decision comes as 88 prisoners and 15 staff already having tested positive for the covid-19 virus. Credit: PA
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Anyone caught breaching the terms set will immediately be brought back to prison.

The decision to release offenders up to two months early comes as 88 prisoners and 15 staff have already tested positive for the covid-19 virus.

It's estimated that 8,700 prison officers are currently self-isolating with symptoms or ill, while prisoners are in lockdown in their cells for up to 23 hours a day.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: PA

Topics: Covid 19, Coronavirus, Prison, Covid-19

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Niamh Spence

Niamh Spence is a freelance writer, covering lifestyle topics. She graduated from Liverpool John Moores University in Journalism in 2012 and has switched between PR and journalism ever since. Usually found with coffee and on twitter.