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Interview

UK: different sides of a shared story

Remotely collecting a snapshot of life in prisons during COVID

As the pandemic hit the UK, researchers were banned from entering prisons. To monitor the evolving conditions of detention during the lockdown, the Prison Reform Trust (PRT) initiated the “Covid-19 Action Prisons Project: Tracking Innovation, Valuing Experience” (CAPPTIVE). Its Prisoner Policy Network (PPN) was mobilised to remotely collect live information from prisoners without physically visiting prisons. Facilitated by the PRT, the network counts about 800 prisoners, 50 ex-prisoners and the same number of prisoners’ relatives. It aims to enable people with lived experience of imprisonment to contribute to the debate and weigh in on prison policies in the United Kingdom.

Kimmett Edgar and Soruche Saajedi are, respectively, head of research and prisoner engagement officer for the Prison Reform Trust. Prison Insider asked them three questions.

We are trying to get a snapshot of what is going on in prisons now

When you have limited access to calls, the range of family members that you can stay in contact with diminishes. Prisoners had to prioritise.

People found it most helpful when governors gave prisoners opportunities to contribute to the effort and make a difference

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Prison Reform Trust (PRT)

The PRT is an independent UK charity working to create a just, humane and effective prison system. “Covid-19 Action Prisons Project: Tracking Innovation, Valuing Experience” (CAPPTIVE) aims to listen to prisoners, their families, prison staff, and others to build a picture of how prisons are responding to the pandemic.

Read their CAPPTIVE reports:

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