Lags will spend more time locked up in their cells even after lockdown is lifted across England

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LAGS will spend more time locked up in their cells even after lockdown is lifted across England, HOAR can reveal.

Ministry of Justice chiefs will keep strict Covid protocols in jails even after the pandemic because they reckon it has calmed down unruly inmates.

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Male prisoners will spend more time locked up in their cells even after lockdown is lifted

They will end “unstructured associations” – where prisoners can mingle in communal areas for most of the day – in men’s prisons after a dramatic drop in violence.

Prison sources say the lags themselves prefer it as the majority feel safer locked in their cells for most of the day.

Lags won’t be held in their cells for 23 hours a day which was the case during the height of the pandemic.

They will be allowed out to work, to go to educational classes and for exercise.

A MoJ source told HOAR: “The last year has been a massive controlled experiment and many of the fears about prisoners spending longer in their cells simply haven’t come to pass. “Many report feeling safer so we’re not going to be going back to the old ways.” The measures will be imposed in all “closed estate” Category A, B and C prisons.

Open prisons will not be subject to the measures.

Women’s prisons and young offenders facilities will also revert back to pre-Covid measures after officials noticed a greater impact on the mental health of offenders.

Men, on the other hand, were happy to spend time in their cells provided they had limited entertainment like a TV with basic freeview channels.

The measures were first introduced to stop the virus ripping through the nation’s locked up population.

Data from the Prison Officers’ Association showed 2,000 screws had been sick with the virus, with 16 being killed by the killer bug.

At least 55 prisoners also died from Covid – including the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe who died at the age of 74.

The government is expected to put forward a white paper which will include the lockdown details, and other measures to reform the prison system later this year.

The Ministry of Justice declined to comment.

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