Top security prison HMP Whitemoor hopes to welcome back visitors for first time since lockdown

PUBLISHED: 11:46 30 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:46 30 July 2020

HMP Whitemoor officials hope to allow visitors back for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: CHRIS RADBURN/PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES

HMP Whitemoor officials hope to allow visitors back for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown began. Picture: CHRIS RADBURN/PA ARCHIVE/PA IMAGES

Archant

Officials from HMP Whitemoor are planning to allow non-contact visits for the first time following the coronavirus lockdown.

Officials from HMP Whitemoor are planning to allow non-contact visits for the first time following the coronavirus lockdown. The top security prison in March said they hope to start these visits from Thursday, August 6.

Writing on Twitter, the prison said: “We hope to hear in the next 48 hours that we can start no contact visits.

“These are still quite tightly controlled at this stage so we can keep our community safe, and they are certainly not the visits we enjoy normally. Information packs coming out soon.”

Officials have also said visitors must also wear a face covering only to be removed on security check and staying two metres apart from staff and the person they’re visiting.

In response, one user asked: “Will this distancing be practical in terms on your setup in the visits hall? It was hard enough to drown out other visitors before let alone with sitting so far apart.”

The prison responded that “normal furniture will be used with alternate tables. Distance from resident to visitor chair is between one and two metres, so face masks are necessary.

“The ambient noise should be much reduced due to limited number of visits in the hall for safe distancing.”

Another social media user wanted to know “why staff are not already wearing face masks when at work not even on the servery or when handling food/meals?”

In reply, the prison said that they “are following all government guidelines and wearing PPE in line with carefully developed operating procedures.

“This is helping us stay Covid free - more than three months and counting.”

MORE: Whitemoor Prison officials take to social media to explain how they’re coping with coronavirus pandemic

Since announcing no visits could take place when lockdown began, HMP Whitemoor has been using video calling platform service Purple Visits to allow friends and families to see their loved ones.

Earlier during lockdown, prison staff explained how they were coping with the pandemic.

Officials reported that family contact through a Prison Voicemail, regular cleaning, good food supplies and daily briefings to staff and residents were all taking place.

In March, the Ministry of Justice confirmed that an officer who was working part-time at the visitor centre at HMP Whitemoor tested positive for coronavirus.

HMP Whitemoor is a maximum security prison for men in Category A and B, which includes a Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder Unit.

You may also want to watch:


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Cambs Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Cambs Times