Custodial Institutions Agency (DJI) takes protective measures to prevent spread of coronavirus
The Custodial Institutions Agency (DJI) has put additional measures in place to prevent coronavirus from spreading in prisons. Given the closed nature of DJI institutions, an outbreak would have major consequences for personnel and inmates. Protecting them is the main priority.
Starting tomorrow visits to inmates will be restricted in all custodial institutions. In order to facilitate social contact, phone services will be expanded and, where possible, the option of communicating via Skype will be provided. Visits by lawyers and others which are necessary for the purposes of due process of law and which cannot be conducted by means of digital communication will be permitted. Parents or legal guardians will be permitted to visit inmates in young offender institutions. Wherever possible, inmates will participate in hearings via video link from prison in order to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.
All leave by inmates in prisons and young offenders institutions and persons subject to a hospital order is suspended with immediate effect. Inmates serving the final part of their sentence, who spend a large part of the day working outside the prison walls and only return in the evening, will be allowed to sleep at home temporarily in order to minimise excessive movement in and out of prisons. These measures will apply until at least 31 March 2020 and may be extended if necessary. In addition, people who have been permitted to await sentencing at home following a conviction and have been given a short sentence will not be called up for the time being. They will be called up later to serve their sentence.
There are currently no known cases of infection in any custodial institution, but the DJI is of course preparing for a possible outbreak. Given the closed nature of prisons, far-reaching measures may need to be taken if an outbreak occurs. The DJI is following the advice of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) with regard to coronavirus. Infected inmates may be isolated in their cell and protocols have been prepared for modifying daily schedules and implementing other measures in the event of an outbreak.