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The prison service is implementing a ban on visits in an effort to protect local prisoners from COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, 17 March, a 30-day suspension on all visits by members of the public to the prison is in place.

Prison Director Steven Barrett said the suspension includes all routine visits to inmates at Fairbanks and Northward prisons. Attorneys and police officers will still be able to visit prisoners, but only “under restricted conditions”.

Barrett warned that precautionary measures were necessary because the coronavirus could have “serious implications” within Cayman’s prisons, because many inmates have underlying conditions which make them vulnerable.

“The health of the prison community, both staff and prisoners, is our uppermost priority at this time,” said Barrett in a statement. “An outbreak of COVID-19 within a prison environment could have particularly serious implications. Many of our prisoners present with underlying medical conditions that would increase their vulnerability if exposed to COVID-19. It is imperative therefore, that we take reasonable and responsible steps to mitigate against this.”

In the event that a prisoner becomes infected with coronavirus, isolation areas have been identified at both prisons.

Barrett said the prison service has also imposed internal restrictions “aimed at limiting the movement of people”, while enhancing environmental hygiene at all sites. It is also considering whether to reduce internal programmes and services.

The prison director also noted that a revised staff attendance arrangement would be made “if necessary”.

“While the decision to cancel visits was entirely necessary, we do appreciate the importance of maintaining family contact and are considering a range of initiatives to ensure that we can continue to facilitate this as much as possible,” said Barrett. “This is a whole community issue and we are taking a whole community approach to dealing with it.”
He said that the visitation restriction would be reviewed after the initial 30-day period.

Full coverage: Coronavirus

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