2020 – 88 – CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus:duty of (not) care (ing)?

Hello friend,

Day 185…

The big problem is how blase everyone has become – prisoners and staff. I was in the queue for lunch and every prisoner – bar me – was bumper to bumper. The guy behind was so close I could feel him breathing on me! No staff were enforcing social distancing, let alone reminding prisoners – why would they when they don’t even follow the rules themselves.

I raised the issue with a wing manager. They became defensive, blamed prisoners – then undermined himself by saying it was their choice (staff) not to social distance – eh! No, it’s the law. He then told me they did not have a Duty of Care to enforce or remind. Whaaat! The attitude and lack of empathy was concerning, to say the least.

I submitted a complaint to the No.1 Governor. He assured me that: “all appropriate measures remain in place to minimise the risk…and reiterated to all staff, the need for our continued vigilance…” Predictably, the wing manager spun their own version of our conversation to minimise their behaviour.

Prior to my complaint I spoke to a number of staff and asked them what briefing they had regarding: ‘enforcing/reminding’ prisoners about social distancing – all said that they had no briefing. After the complaint…? I got the same answer – nothing had changed. Astonishing!

This attitude is short-sighted. Protect us from the virus and staff protect their colleagues and their families. More prosiners get infected, more staff get infected, more family members get infected. It’s an undeniable logic!

I do hope I’m not having to refer you back to this blog in a few weeks or months time; but, if a member of staff brings the virus in it is likely to cause widespread infections and possibly deaths.

No duty of care… really?

Be happy, be safe and be kind.
Graham Coutts, 24th September 2020

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