Home Psychology Covid solitary confinement inflamed UK prisons mental health crisis, says study

Covid solitary confinement inflamed UK prisons mental health crisis, says study

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Biggest survey of its kind finds ‘widespread trauma’ inflicted on prisoners by extended isolation

A regime of mass solitary confinement imposed in UK jails during the pandemic has turbocharged a prisons mental health crisis and put the safety of the public at risk, according to one of the biggest prisoner experience studies ever conducted.

Based on a detailed survey of more than 1,400 prisoners in 10 jails, carried out by teams of peer researchers who were themselves prisoners, the study gives unprecedented insight into emergency lockdown conditions introduced in UK prisons when it was feared they would become hotspots for the Covid-19 virus.

It found 85% of prisoners reported being locked in their cells for more than 23 hours a day for often months at a time, while their access to rehabilitation programmes, family visits and regular exercise was largely stopped. This in effect subjected inmates to “one of the most extreme confinement regimes in the world”, the study says.

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