2 April 2020

Scottish Labour's justice spokesperson James Kelly has written to Humza Yousaf demanding that the Scottish Government begin releasing regular COVID-19 figures for the Scottish Prison Estate.

So far, figures have been released on an ad hoc basis by the Scottish Prison Service, in contrast to the daily updates being posted by the Ministry of Justice in England.

In a letter to the Justice Secretary, James Kelly MSP said:

"We are now seeing significant numbers across the Scottish Prison Estate having to self isolate.

"In the interest of ensuring that both the rights of these prisoners are protected, and the safety of staff is upheld, it is vital that the response to COVID-19 in our prisons is transparent and accountable.

"The Justice Secretary must begin releasing information on a daily basis detailing the number of prisoners in isolation and the number that have tested positive, as well as the figures for prison and escort staff. "It should also be recorded where these cases are on the prison estate.

"Humza Yousaf has been ignoring calls from justice organisations in Scotland to do this, and it is not good enough. "We need a serious and sensible approach to this crisis, and I hope the Justice Secretary will consider doing just that." Scottish Labour Health Spokesperson Monica Lennon MSP said:

“It’s concerning that the number of Coronavirus deaths in Scotland has been under-reported to date.

“I welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to publish details on all COVID-19 related deaths from now on.

“This information is long overdue, and GPs and families were justified in raising their concerns.

“My thoughts remain with everyone who has lost loved ones. Irrespective of where people have died, be it in their own house, a nursing home or a hospital, we need the full facts about this virus. It’s clear that a lack of testing is contributing to the lack of information, which is unacceptable. “Scottish Labour will continue to push the Scottish Government to ramp up testing, particularly for health and care staff, and to be more open with the public.”
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