A report last month said up to 85 percent of the entire prison population spent just one hour outside their cells during lockdown. A study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council said the practice had ended, and the Ministry of Justice also insisted it was no longer the case. However, Adrian Darbyshire QC told Isleworth Crown Court it remains commonplace in many prisons with “no end in sight”. The court heard that prison conditions “have been difficult since the outbreak of the epidemic”.
But Mr Darbyshire said: “No one in 2020 thought that in July 2022 prison conditions would be what they are now.”
He claimed he was protecting a man who was about to be jailed for running a £105million money laundering ring that moved cash from the UK to Dubai in suitcases. He urged the judge to take into account when sentencing 47-year-old Abdullah Alfalasi that he had spent 23 hours a day in a cell since December.
He said. “We know sometimes when things go bad, it takes an awful long time to get better again. When will things get back to normal in the prison service when prisoners no longer spend 23 hours a day in their cells? Or is someone at some institutional level satisfied that this is what the prison now represents?’
A judge described Alfalasi as “reclusive” since his arrest. He said. “Since the outbreak of the epidemic, there have been very difficult prison conditions. We’ve known that since the beginning, and it’s continued for those in custody.”
He reduced his 12.5-year sentence for money laundering to nine years and seven months, also because of a late guilty plea.
Relatives of those detained at HMP Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham claimed loved ones were being held in similar conditions. One said: “My brother is in custody at HMP Liverpool. It is open for a maximum of one hour a day.”
A woman whose father is in custody in Birmingham says: “Many of them are still on 23-hour detention in Birmingham unless the inmate is enhanced or employed.”
Mark Fairhurst, national president of the Association of Prison Officers, said he did not want prisoners locked up for long periods of time, but sometimes it was still necessary to isolate infected prisoners.
He added: “There are many prisons that are struggling to unlock prisoners and provide routines due to understaffing due to unattractive wages and harsh working conditions. The Government must make prison officers pay more attractively so that we can maintain progressive, effective and rehabilitative regimes. “None of us wants to see prisoners languishing in their cells.”
A Ministry of Health spokesperson strongly denied that prisoners, including Alfalasi, are still being held in cells for 23 hours a day.
He said. “Manchester operates a regime whereby prisoners are out of their cells for at least four to five hours a day, shower and gym access is unaffected, meals are taken in the canteen as usual and there are in the cells. phones that prisoners can use whenever they want.’
He said prisoners in Liverpool were allowed outside for at least two to three hours a day, adding: “Work and meaningful activities have also resumed in the prison where Mr. Alfalasi is, and it is not true that only prisoners are allowed in that place. to go out for an hour a day.’
The 23-hour lockdown in British prisons is “still in place”. Great Britain | news
Source The 23-hour lockdown in British prisons is “still in place”. Great Britain | news