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King's Lynn family raises concerns after coronavirus outbreak at HMP Norwich

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A family has raised concerns after a Lynn father has tested positive for coronavirus at Norwich Prison.

Prisoners in isolation are restricted in accessing communal showers, and can make calls for up to 10 minutes every day after a Covid-19 outbreak at HMP Norwich.

A Ministry of Justice prison service spokesman said: "Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and to protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons.

The Ministry of Justice says carefully implemented measures have prevented many deaths
The Ministry of Justice says carefully implemented measures have prevented many deaths

“Carefully implemented measures - including shielding the vulnerable, rolling out mass testing and introducing safe regimes - have undoubtedly prevented many deaths and limited transmission in a uniquely challenging environment.”

The Lynn family said the father tested positive last week, and they are concerned about his living conditions in the prison.

They said he has not been allowed to shower or change his sheets.

A friend of the family said: "Their [prisoners] human rights are being violated and no one is there to advocate for them."

Prison guidelines say prisoners' sheets are changed regularly, and can be changed more frequently if requested.

All prisoners at HMP Norwich have access to their own washing facilities within their cells.

Concerns have been raised over the lack of clarity for family members following the Covid-19 outbreak at the prison.

The Lynn News has been contacted by a member of a separate family, who did not wish to be identified, and who echoed these thoughts.

She said: "Prisoners are being refused access to showers, exercise and clean laundry, this included bedding, towels and clothes.

"Phonecalls are few and far between as there's a limited amount of phones being passed around the wings, and post is being delayed for over a week before being delivered to the prisoners.

"This isn't just the case for those who have tested positive, those who have had continuous negative results are still having this basic human rights withheld.

"Whilst I cannot fault the majority of the staff there for their communication and compassion, I do think it needs to be taken into consideration that keeping in touch with loved ones is what keeps the men in a healthy mindset. They were already locked up for 23 hours a day before the lockdown due to Covid restrictions, but now its a case of being stuck in their cells 24 hours a day with no real insight of when it will end.

"I understand Covid needs to be controlled, but basic human rights must be worked into it, however difficult it may be."

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