(CMR) Two prisoners have tested positive for coronavirus at Her Majesty's Prison Service's remand block unit with fears that more results will be positive the block of inmates is now on complete lockdown. The high-risk area can see inmates brought in almost daily after they are placed on remand by the courts.
The exclusive details were reported to CMR this evening after the test results came back in earlier in the day. The two male prisoners have now been isolated and others remain concerned about the final count at the facility.
The remand block is a smaller cell block area where men in custody are taken once on remand as an initial holding area. Essentially anyone that goes to the prison is first taken to the remand block until they have been sentenced and then transferred into the general prison population. Sources indicate that it can hold upwards of 53 prisoners.
There had been concerns for quite some time about the possibility of the prison population being infected because they are all contained in such close quarters. The prison director had previously advocated for the Parole Board to entertain the early release of some prisoners to ease the pressures on the overcrowded facility. Non-violent and low-risk prisoners who were coming to the end of their sentence were given the benefit of the COVID-19 early release.
The cellblock is secluded from the regular population and the prisoners only have access to the prison compound for church purposes or if they are qualified for certain educational programs. It is also situated below the maximum-security unit.
Some are questioning why the use of the Enhanced Reintegration Unit (ERU) was not utilized after those inmates were sent home because of COVID-19. That facility is located at Fairbanks in George Town close to the Immigration Detention Centre and is more secluded and closer to courts and the hospital.