A government scheme to release prisoners early to help jails deal with coronavirus has been suspended.
A Ministry of Justice official said it ‘occurred to us after a week or so that prison was actually quite a good way of making sure people are isolated.’
A government spokesman said the scheme had backfired after it came to light that many criminals were ‘refusing to stick to rules’ despite it being made very clear to them that they were to comply with guidelines.
We spoke to one ex-inmate who said he couldn’t believe his luck when he was released and told that it was only ‘suggested’ that he comply with what was being asked of him.
The authorities have come under fire over their handling and enforcement of social distancing measures.
One prison guard said there had been ‘sympathy’ for prisoners who were missing out on ‘a great opportunity to flout the rules without the risk of being fined or imprisoned’ and that for many career criminals it was a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance.
Prisoners will now be returned to their cells where they’ll be given a key and asked whether they’d be so kind as to remain there, or at least not commit crime if they choose to ignore the request and set themselves free.