The comments made by David Lammy, the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, on 9 October 2020.
The sudden jump in coronavirus cases in prisons is very concerning and should act as a warning against complacency in the Ministry of Justice.
We know from explosions of coronavirus cases among prison populations in other countries that prisons can be ticking time bombs in this pandemic. Major outbreaks in prisons will not only cause unnecessary deaths of prisoners and staff, they can overwhelm local hospitals and spread the virus outside of their walls.
To prevent the virus from getting out of control in prisons, Ministers need to do more to meet their target headroom across the prison estate of 5,500, as outlined by Public Health England and HMPPS. Alongside this, the government needs to urgently fix coronavirus testing and tracing across the population as a whole.