Letter to Nadhim Zahawi MP, Minister for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment
Clinks has written to Nadhim Zahawi MP, Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment and the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation to request that people in prison and those who work with them, including voluntary sector staff and volunteers, are given priority vaccination against Covid-19.
Levels of infection in prison have been minimised by implementing severely restricted regimes, including prolonged periods where prisoners have been confined to their cells for 23 hours a day, sometimes unable to access basic sanitation or maintain contact with family members. Unsurprisingly in this context, voluntary sector organisations and scrutiny bodies have reported deteriorating mental health and disturbing rises in cases of self-harm in prisons.
The letter argues it is therefore vital that all people who live and work in prisons are prioritised for the vaccine to allow for the restoration of a prison regime that is safe and rehabilitative. Clear and accessible information about the timescale for vaccination of the prison community is also required to address the uncertainty faced by prisoners and enable voluntary sector organisations to better plan for when they might be able to resume delivery of vital services.