St Albans inmates on prolonged hunger strike over alleged beatings and growing Covid-19 concerns

St Albans prisoners have alleged they are being beaten by members of a national task team sent to the prison to quell uprisings by prisoners
HEAVY PUNISHMENT: St Albans prisoners have alleged they are being beaten by members of a national task team sent to the prison to quell uprisings by prisoners
Image: Supplied

St Albans prison is a powder keg waiting to go off  as the number of Covid-19 cases explodes and prisoners embark on a hunger strike amid alleged serious human rights abuses. 

The view was expressed by a number of warders and prisoners on Monday who said the situation was a nightmare.

One prison warder, who did not want to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said he did not believe the correctional services department was being transparent about the number of staff infected with Covid-19 or the ever-increasing infection rate among prisoners.

He said nine awaiting-trial inmates who had been distributing food to the prisoners had tested positive.

Describing the situation as a ticking time-bomb, the warder said there were also concerns that the inmates were not being properly sanitised or screened.

An inmate told The Herald that the overcrowded cells and lack of proper sanitation was a disaster waiting to happen.

“Ever since we saw on the news and on the radio that there is Covid, we are yet to receive sanitisers or masks in the cells.

“The only people who have masks are the wardens and inmates who were on the textiles side ... they [inmates] used old T-shirts and pants which, too, is futile because we are too full in the cells.

“All we are asking for is that there is an awareness campaign about the disease and that the management is open to us about who has the virus so we can to protect ourselves,” he said.

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