To date, 10 prison staff have died in service from covid-19.
In light of this, earlier this week I asked the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland, whether he would “commit to adopting the best practice demands of the unions for a safe working environment” as well as pay compensation to the families of the 10 prison staff who have died, and any who lose their lives from the virus in the future.
There is already compensation payment available to family of those who have died and will die from covid-19 in the Health sector. It would be the decent thing to do, to introduce this payment for the families of prison staff. Working with the unions to guarantee a safe working environment according to best practice is essential to prevent as many deaths as possible in our prison service.
The Secretary suggested in his reply to my question that he had been in contact “regularly with prison representatives and the unions”. The Secretary General of The POA got in touch and said it was news to him, and that they were going to ask for further meetings dealing with compensation.
If the UK Government wants to claim they are dealing with this issue properly and compassionately, they need to address this imbalance between public sector key workers now.