COVID-19: Bishop welcomes release of pregnant women and new mothers from prison


Source: CCN

The lead Catholic Bishop for prisons has welcomed the release of pregnant women and new mothers from custody, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. Writing to the Justice Secretary today Bishop Richard Moth said: "I recognise that this will not have been an easy step to take, but with Catholic charities and chaplains working in our prisons, this will help to relieve pressure on the prison estate and save lives."

Urging the government to go further he said: "On behalf of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, I encourage you to build upon this important decision and continue to tackle the spread of COVID-19 among staff and prisoners by releasing others who do not pose a risk to the public, especially older or vulnerable people."

Earlier this week Bishop Richard had publicly called for the urgent release of older or unwell people, pregnant women and those who can be released on temporary licence without posing any risk to the wider public. (see: www.indcatholicnews.com/news/39242 )

In his Angelus message on Sunday, Pope Francis implored governments to prevent overcrowded prisons from becoming 'a tragedy' amid the pandemic.

The letter from Bishop Richard Moth to Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP follows:

Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
London
SW1H 9AJ

1 April 2020

Dear Lord Chancellor,

Thank you for taking the important decision to temporarily release pregnant women and new mothers from prison, in order to protect them and their children from COVID-19.

I recognise that this will not have been an easy step to take, but with Catholic charities and chaplains working in our prisons, I recognise that this will help to relieve pressure on the prison estate and save lives.

On behalf of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, I encourage you to build upon this important decision and continue to tackle the spread of COVID-19 among staff and prisoners by releasing others who do not pose a risk to the public, especially older or vulnerable people.

I would also like to thank you for providing more opportunities for prisoners to stay in touch with their families following the necessary cancellation of visits. Now more than ever it is essential to protect family ties and I hope more phones and other forms of contact can be made available as soon as possible.

Please be assured of my prayers for you, your family and your staff at this extremely difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

Rt Rev Richard Moth
Lead Bishop for Prisons
Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales



Tags: Coronavirus , Covid-19, COVID19, Bishop Richard Moth, Prison, Women Prisons, Mothers, Pregnant

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