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Prisoners could be freed to reduce pressure on jails during coronavirus outbreak

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In an attempt to curb the spread prisoners could be freed to reduce pressure on jails during coronavirus outbreak.

The Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has said that releasing some inmates could help to ‘alleviate’ pressures on the prison system.

In speaking to the Commons justice committee he was ‘keen’ to make use of of release on temporary license.

This would be where prisoners are allowed out for short periods, if an assessment on them allowed for the risk to be low enough.

Read more: Vehicle owners to be granted MOT exemption in battle against coronavirus

In addition, of the 9,000 who were on remand and awaiting trial, he indicated that some could be moved to bail hostels and that he was examining ‘very carefully’ whether around 50 pregnant prisoners could be released as well.

As part of prison measures to curb the spread of the virus all prisons have cancelled visits from outsiders and inmates activities have been cancelled.

It has also been reported that hundred of phones are to be given to prosons to allow their inmates to keep in touch with family during the ban on visitors.

Chief executive of the Prison and Probation Service, Jo Farrar, confirmed 13 inmates had tested positive for coronavirus across 9 prisons.

Coronavirus

West Sussex refuses to support Crawley schools decision of NOT fining parents for keeping children absent

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September seems to creeping ever closer and with it comes the supposed return to school for children across the town.

But with the news that parents ‘must’ send their children back to school come the start of the new school year, also came the news that one head in paticular had gone on record to say he would not fine any parent who kept their child at home.

Head of St Wilfrid’s Michael Ferry was interviewed on breakfast television where he stated that he would not fine a parent. This then led to a whole debate about who was right and what the right decision should be.

Now West Sussex County Council has added to this furore by refusing to support a decision to not fine a parent made by any head teacher or school in Crawley.

In a statement a West Sussex County Council Spokesperson said:

“We welcome the plan for all children to return to the classroom in September after, what has been for many, a lengthy absence.

“We recognise that some children may be anxious about returning to school and will work closely with our schools to help them prepare children and build the confidence of parents  and carers in the plans for a safe and managed return.

“We will continue to work with schools to engage with and support parents and carers in getting their children back into school before considering issuing penalties for poor attendance. Issuing fines for non-attendance is always a last resort.”

The lack of apparent support from the county council shows an ever growing divide on decisions being made around the ongoing problems with the coronavirus.

Responding to the comments from West Sussex, Michael Ferry said:

“The guidance allows head teachers as far as they can to make local decisions to meet the needs of their school communities.  If one of those decisions happens to be that we are not going to fine people for something that isn’t their fault then I would expect the local authority to support the headteachers in doing so.

If only 10% turn up when we reopen then I would say I have failed because I have not got across the message about what measures we are taking to protect our students.”

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