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RECOOP responds to the challenges of COVID-19

Thursday, June 11th 2020
COVID-19 has thrown up many challenges in all aspects of life, not least in prisons. There is a fear that the necessary, highly restrictive regimes put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus, will have a huge impact on the mental health of prisoners.  HMIP suggests that some prisoners are spending no more than 30 minutes a day out of their cells. Prisons accommodate many vulnerable people who statistically tend to be in poorer health than the general population. Long periods of isolation,...
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Aldo Trust offers RECOOP grant to support prisoners directly

Wednesday, May 20th 2020
The Aldo Trust has once again generously supported RECOOP with a grant of £1,000 allowing us to offer individual grants of up to £25 per individual to help them purchase something to pass the time and keep themselves occupied during this challenging period of lockup. The funding will be split between our service users in HMPs Leyhill, Eastwood Park and Erlestoke. Paul Grainge, RECOOP Chief Officer said: “At a time when the pressure for those incarcerated is continually building,...
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Recoop asked by NHS England & NHS Improvement to develop Distraction Packs

Tuesday, May 12th 2020
RECOOP is delighted to have been asked by NHS England & NHS Improvement to develop and produce a Distraction Pack for distribution to all rough sleepers who have been provided with appropriate accommodation during the COVID-19 crisis. The packs will be produced fortnightly and circulated to all Local Authorities for distribution.  They will include a template for people to share their own experiences through a story, poem or picture, which will then be collated and a selection added to future...
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Community Spirit

Wednesday, April 22nd 2020
The importance of keeping mentally active during COVID-19 and the long periods of self-isolation has never been greater and it was decided to offer the March issue of our Distraction Pack ‘food for thought’ free of charge to our members. One such recipient was an Outreach Worker in Moseley, Birmingham who supports people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  Not only did they receive a copy of our Distraction Pack, but pens too! Interest is growing day by day.  Should...
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HMPPS highlights RECOOP's work as Good Practice

Thursday, March 19th 2020
RECOOP’s work with older prisoners has been highlighted as good practice in a recent HMPPS Diversity & Inclusion Team presentation “Assessing and Meeting the Needs of Older Residents”.
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Journeymen Theatre donates profits/donations of latest play to RECOOP

Friday, March 13th 2020
Journeymen Theatre’s new play ‘Lock Down’, commissioned by Positive Justice Gloucestershire, opened at Stourbridge Meeting House on the 26th February to a full audience.  The play follows the friendship between Ron, an elderly lifer in a Cat B prison and Kathy, the new and very inexperienced Quaker prison chaplain.  ‘Lock Down’ explores the complexities of the UK penal system and how this impacts upon both prisoners and those who work with them.  In particular,...
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Clinks' & RECOOP's response to JSC's enquiry into ageing prison population

Monday, February 3rd 2020
Back in July 2019, the Justice Committee launched an inquiry into the ageing prison population which would examine the challenges older prisoners face and the services they need, including the adequacy of accommodation, purposeful activity, provision of health and social care, resettlement and whether a national strategy for the treatment of older prisoners is needed. Chair of the Justice Committee, Bob Neill MP, said: “Prisons are often unfit for the needs of older people and the Committee is...
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Buddy comes to the North West

Tuesday, January 14th 2020
RECOOP is delighted to announce that our Buddy Support Worker Programme is now being delivered in the North West prison group. The programme, developed in conjunction with Devon County Council, has been successfully delivered in all three Devon prisons since the enactment of the Care Act 2014.  The managed service trains prisoners to National Care Standards (adapted for use in prison) to support other prisoners with health and social care needs.  A team from the North West Regional Office...
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Thursday, December 12th 2019
We are delighted to announce RECOOP, together with the Devon County Council and the three prisons (HMPs Channings Wood, Dartmoor and Exeter)  were awarded Silver in the “Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice” category, for the Buddy Training & Management service in the Devon Prison Cluster. Established in 2006, the Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of social workers, promote social work and incentivise individuals and teams in the social work profession in...
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Interview with Governor of HMP Dartmoor

Friday, December 6th 2019
“The first thing I have noticed when I’m walking around is the increase in self-esteem from the recipients because they are receiving a service which means that they feel safe, they’ve got someone they can trust who comes in and helps meet their needs, who is not a staff member, who is a peer.” This is an extract from a recent interview with Bridie Oakes-Richards, Governor of HMP Dartmoor, talking about the values of the Buddy Support Programme and the impact the Buddies are...
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Dementia-friendly prisons to be included in expansion programme

Monday, November 18th 2019 - The Times
With the number of prisoners in England & Wales aged 50+ increasing from 7,548 in 2009 to 13,890 as at the end of September 2019 (an increase of 80%) [MOJ], so too do the issues faced by the prisons on how best to accommodate their particular needs. A recent article in The Times (11th November) highlighted the MOJ’s recognition of the fact that older prisoners have specific needs which need to be addressed and which have “led to improvements in the design of new prisons at Wellingborough...
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Over 3,000 Resources downloaded

Wednesday, October 23rd 2019
On the 12th July 2012 RECOOP launched its Resource Library enabling Members free access to a wealth of resources aimed at the ever-growing older prisoner population. Since then, just over 3,000 resources have been downloaded ranging from Health Posters, Care Act Leaflets, Session Plans including quizzes, information on establishing and running Older Forums and our Good Practice Guides. If you are not already a Member and would like to register, you can do soRead More

Sharing information with Hong Kong delegates

Wednesday, October 16th 2019
In July, RECOOP was contacted by The Society of Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention in Hong Kong (SRACP), a government recognised charitable organisation established in 1957.  SRACP provides a rehabilitation service for offenders and discharged prisoners in Hong Kong (HK) and, in recent years, has developed a social enterprise to support their service-users and families in order to start a new life. Having heard about RECOOP’s work and with a growing older prisoner population in HK, they were...
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The Impact of Buddy Support

Tuesday, October 8th 2019
“Any prisoner providing social care support to another prisoner should be appropriately selected, trained and supervised.”
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Unannounced inspection of HMP Eastwood Park highlights value of support provided by RECOOP

Friday, September 6th 2019
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons is an independent, statutory organisation which reports on the treatment and conditions of those detained in prisons, young offender institutions, secure training centres, immigration detention facilities, police and court custody and military detention.  The unannounced inspection of HMP Eastwood Park, a women’s prison in Gloucestershire, took place in May of this year and its report has recently been published, with the work of RECOOP’s Day...
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Doing time: Britain's ageing prison population

Thursday, August 22nd 2019 - Reader's Digest
The Reader's Digest has recently published an article following their investigation into whether “Britain’s prisons are ready to cope with the reality of our ageing inmates”. The article highlights the severe lack of provision for the increasing ageing prison population in many of the UK’s prisons following interviews conducted with Peter Clarke (Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons), the Prison Reform Trust,  Dr Amanda Brown (GP at HMP Bronzefield) and...
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RECOOP welcomes Community First

Friday, August 2nd 2019
RECOOP guests, Katrina Watson and Clara Hickman from Community First, spent the day in one of the prisons in which we work delivering an 'Introduction to Community Organising Training'  (an accredited course) to 13 prisoners due to be released within the year. “What a fantastic group they were – engaged and enthusiastic throughout the day”.   The talking photos (photographs/pictures chosen by individuals from a random selection which they then talk about why they...
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Care UK/HMP Dartmoor and the Buddy Support Workers receive HSJ Patient Safety End of Life Award 2019

Thursday, July 18th 2019
RECOOP is delighted to announce that Care UK/HMP Dartmoor have been awarded the End of Life Award.
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Robert Buckland QC MP visits RECOOP’s project, the Lobster Pot, at HMP Leyhill

Monday, July 8th 2019
He was delighted to learn about our excellent work both in the prison and in support of our residents when they leave prison.  Robert enjoyed the hospitality on offer at the Pot and understood the importance of ‘charity’ in a custodial setting. His visit follows hot on the heels of his colleague David Gauke.

Successful first Dementia Awareness Day held at HMP Leyhill

Friday, July 5th 2019
RECOOP was happy to host the first ‘Dementia Awareness Day’ at the Lobster Pot in HMP Leyhill, on the 20th June. In association with Alzheimer’s Society and the Healthcare Department, RECOOP hosted an informal event in which both staff and residents could learn more about dementia, its sign and symptoms and the support available at HMP Leyhill.  With external guests from HMP Eastwood Park and dementia friendly gardening groups, there was a range of information available. The day...
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Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, David Gauke, visits Lobster Pot

Tuesday, July 2nd 2019
The RECOOP team at the Lobster Pot (HMP Leyhill) was delighted to receive a visit from the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, David Gauke on the 27th June. He was able to learn the valuable work undertaken by the team, both in terms of support of the prison’s work and importantly, the rehabilitation and resettlement of the residents of the prison. Accompanied by the prison’s Governor, Neil Lavis and Deputy Governor, Ray Johnson, they were able to reaffirm how important...
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RECOOP awarded grant by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Wednesday, May 22nd 2019 - Paul Grainge
RECOOP has been successful in its application to the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to fund some new development work to help even more older service-users across the country. RECOOP has received funding over three years to develop a suite of commercial services, training and interventions to offer to Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service in order to help them best support the differing needs of those they are managing who are aged over 50. The over-arching aim of RECOOP is to reduce...
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New strategy needed for older offenders

Tuesday, April 16th 2019 - BCHA
Press Release written by Deep South Media
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“Flexibility is vital”

Monday, April 1st 2019
Clinks report on the role and value of the voluntary sector in supporting older people in the criminal justice system.
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Testing the benefits of the Transition Resettlement Programme to AP Residents

Monday, March 18th 2019
Transition is a short Resettlement Programme designed specifically for those who are over the age of 50 and in a custodial setting. The Programme has been delivered in a number of prisons across England on a quarterly or bi-monthly basis. We’ve recently taken the programme into Approved Premises on a pilot basis to test what the benefits were to Residents.  The Programme includes sessions which focus on the needs of older people on release and include  planning for retirement,...
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'A Different Sense of Time'

Tuesday, February 19th 2019
RECOOP has just published ‘A Different Sense of Time’, a publication which outlines its range of age-appropriate (50+) services to aid prisons find suitable regime adaptations for their growing older population.  Many older prisoners have complex needs including sensory impairments, multiple healthcare needs, disabilities and poor mobility and are more likely to be retired and need meaningful activity and social connections. In many cases, older prisoners, who may be serving life...
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Over 34,000 individual visits made to RECOOP’s Day Centres in 2018

Wednesday, February 6th 2019
Like all charities, we collect numerous statistics throughout the year in order to highlight the importance of the service we offer.  RECOOP has run Day Centres for the over 50s in five prisons throughout 2018 and in that period: 34,205 individual visits were made;   by 639 unique users; 1,313 prisoner volunteer hours have been worked by 131 prisoners;  433 external volunteer hours worked by 166 volunteers.  All groups address the 9 Pathways to reduce re-offending in a...
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RECOOP's Distraction Packs address the need for prisoners to access stimulating in-cell activity

Wednesday, January 23rd 2019
The concluding paragraph of ‘Life in Prison: living conditions’, a findings paper by HM Inspectorate of Prisons (October 2017), says: “When confined to their cells it is important that prisoners can access stimulating in-cell activities to help them pass the time constructively.  However, sometimes access to such activities is limited: prisoners may not be able to access the library or other education opportunities, or may not have the means to purchase craft materials, and so...
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‘Transition’ Resettlement course developed for community delivery

Wednesday, January 2nd 2019
In September 2018, RECOOP announced it had won funding from Innovation Wessex to develop its ‘Transition’ Resettlement course for community delivery and the team used the funding to trial the programme in a number of National Probation Service Approved Premises in the South West. The programme includes sessions on planning for retirement, independent living skills, technology, building new community networks of support, volunteering, benefits, pensions, health, well-being and disclosure....
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RECOOP and the Lobster Pot

Tuesday, December 18th 2018
RECOOP has been awarded a further 3-year contract to continue to provide Day Centre provision for the over 50’s at HMP Leyhill
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Remembrance Day in HMP Dartmoor 2018

Tuesday, November 27th 2018 - Liz Ropschitz
“Most special of Remembrance Ceremonies” – Prisoner and Royal Navy Veteran
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Gaining invaluable skills

Tuesday, November 20th 2018 - RECOOP
Cooking sessions that take place at the Lobster Pot (over 50s Day Centre at HMP Leyhill) are just one of the invaluable ways RECOOP helps the men prepare for life post release.   We were therefore delighted to receive news from an ex-resident that his determination and efforts have paid off and he is currently using his new-found skills on the outside.
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Social care in prisons in England & Wales - A Thematic Report

Wednesday, October 24th 2018
This recently published thematic report,  has been jointly undertaken by HM Inspectorate of Prisons and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. It monitors, inspects and regulates services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety. In its introduction, the Report says: “Even the most psychologically robust and able-bodied man or woman finds being imprisoned to be a disturbing experience. And for those...
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Aldo Trust supporting prisoners directly via RECOOP

Monday, October 15th 2018
The Aldo Trust has generously supported RECOOP with a grant of £1000 to be used to assist individual prisoners with small grants in order to buy resources to help them make their period of incarceration a little more comfortable.  We are working with individuals to identify purchases to aid their mental health stimulation, well-being and independent living preparation. The men and women RECOOP work with have benefitted hugely from this grant: Our Aldo Trust coats continue to be...
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RECOOP Project Co-ordinator is nominated for a Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice Award

Monday, October 1st 2018
RECOOP Project Co-ordinator in Devon & Cornwall, Liz Ropschitz, together with a Social Worker and Occupational Therapist from Devon County Council, have been nominated for a Creative & Innovative Social Work Practice Award in recognition of their invaluable work supporting prisoners with health and social care needs, which includes the Buddy Support Scheme, in the Devon Prison Cluster. This Award, was set up to celebrate the outstanding achievements of practitioners and teams up and down the...
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RECOOP wins Innovation Wessex funding to develop Transition Resettlement Training for the community

Tuesday, September 25th 2018
RECOOP is pleased to announce that it has recently won some funding from Innovation Wessex to develop our older ‘Transition’ Resettlement course for community delivery. The team plan to adapt and trial the programme in a number of National Probation Service Approved Premises’ in the Autumn across the South West. We are thrilled to be able to reach those residing in these settings with this supportive course and hope to mould it to meet their specific needs to reduce the fear and...
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"Rubies" from HMP Eastwood Park exhibit at Koestler Trust exhibition

Monday, September 17th 2018 - RECOOP
The Rubies at HMP Eastwood Park have yet again won numerous awards in recognition of their creativity and the work of one will be exhibited at an exhibition in the Royal Festival Hall.
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Healthy Eating & Living in Prison (HELP)

Wednesday, August 15th 2018
With obesity at an all-time high, there has never been a greater urgency to address the detrimental effect poor food choices and lack of exercise have within our prison system. One ex-prisoner said “At 6’ 1” in height, I went into prison a reasonably trim 12.5 stone (79 kg) with a healthy BMI.  I came out a few years later at around 16 stone (101 kg).  On average I think I gained over 16lbs per year”. With many prisoners spending increased amounts of time in cell, it...
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RECOOP wins back contract to deliver Day Centre services at HMP Eastwood Park

Thursday, July 19th 2018
RECOOP is pleased to announce that it has won back the contract to deliver the ‘Rubies and Blue belle’ services at HMP Eastwood Park. Paul Grainge Chief Officer adds ’We are thrilled to be able to continue supporting the older female population in this establishment. The new three-year contract will provide us with the opportunity to develop the service further, continuing to meet the differing needs of the women we support and ensuring it remains fit for purpose.’ On hearing the...
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CF03 Bicycle Initiative

Thursday, July 12th 2018
One of the core objectives of CF03 is to improve social inclusion. Many of the participants we are working with have experienced multiple difficulties accessing education and training - excluding them from finding better opportunities after release. Our Case Managers work with individuals to guide them and provide advice and support with the aim of getting back into employment.  Participants are also offered accredited personal development and vocational courses. Deb Earley, one of our CF03 Case...
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SSAFA and RECOOP working together for Armed Forces Day

Tuesday, June 19th 2018 - Liz Ropschitz
Once again, Armed Forces Day saw Liz Ropschitz, Health and Wellbeing Manager for RECOOP and HMP Dartmoor prison officer Chris Elliott raising the awareness of SSAFA, the charity whose support is available to all ex-services personnel and their families, both in the community and in custody. In June 2018, SSAFA Devon received the Queens Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) for relieving need, suffering and distress amongst the Armed Forces, veterans and their families in Devon. QAVS is the highest award...
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Transition 50+ "A course to be remembered with a real sense of pride and accomplishment"

Tuesday, May 15th 2018 - PL - Prisoner HMP Ford
One of the participants at HMP Ford who enrolled on the Transition 50+ Resettlement Programme sums up the impact of the 4-day course.
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Transition 50+ Resettlement Programme

Wednesday, April 25th 2018
Release from prison can be both a daunting and exciting experience. Our “Transition 50+ Resettlement Programme”, which has been designed to address the specific resettlement needs of those who are aged over 50, aims to equip older prisoners with the appropriate knowledge and skills to support a positive resettlement experience and to live actively, responsibly and productively post release. The Programme is now being delivered in a number of prisons on a quarterly or bi-monthly...
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Improving Social Inclusion

Wednesday, April 18th 2018
RECOOP and parent company BCHA, were awarded the HMPPS Co-Financing Organisation Round 3 (CFO3) contract in July 2015, funded by the European Social Fund. Together, RECOOP and BCHA plan to support over 500 offenders during the life of the 5¾ year contract across a number of prisons and community settings within the South West region. One of the core objectives of CFO3 is to improve social inclusion. Many of the participants we are working with have experienced multiple difficulties accessing...
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Impact of Buddy Support Training

Friday, April 6th 2018
Working alongside Devon County Council and three prisons in Devon, RECOOP has been delivering The Buddy Support Scheme in HMPs Channings Wood, Dartmoor and Exeter for over four years and has just completed training within four prisons in The East Prison region – HMPs Highpoint, Littlehey, Warren Hill and Bure. The Programme is designed to equip prisoners to support other prisoners with health and social care needs and the day-to-day challenges they face within an often very difficult...
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IMB approaches RECOOP’s Rubies for help

Wednesday, February 14th 2018
Following an appeal in October 2017 by the Royal United Hospital Bath asking for knitters to help provide tiny bobble hats for new-born babies at the RUH Bath Birthiang Centre, the Independent Monitoring Board approached The Rubies, a Day Centre run by RECOOP for the over 50s at HMP Eastwood Park, for help.  The ladies jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this project.  The hospital is introducing a traffic light, colour-coded system of green, amber and red bobble hats to help ensure that...
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Vulnerable Women in the Prison System

Wednesday, January 31st 2018
Alma Hageman speaks at event run by Positive Justice Gloucestershire.
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The impact of our Day Centres

Thursday, January 18th 2018
Like all charities, we collect numerous statistics throughout the year in order to highlight the importance of the service we offer.
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"Renewed my faith in what is possible"

Friday, January 5th 2018
RECOOP’s consultancy project in support of The Brookdale Centre for Healthy Aging (City University of New York) and the Osbourne Association (a charity supporting offenders in the community across the state) is nearing completion.
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Development of an older community support network for returning offenders in New York

Thursday, October 5th 2017 - RECOOP
In August, RECOOP hosted its second US delegate, Laura Roan from the Osborne Association in New York as part of our joint project together with the Brookdale Center for Healthy Ageing, to support the development of an older community support network in the city for returning offenders.  Laura manages a number of prison support services across New York State.  We were able to showcase our Community Support Café model where Laura joined in a wellbeing group and visited a number of partner...
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Thursday, June 11th 2020
COVID-19 has thrown up many challenges in all aspects of life, not least in prisons. There is a fear that the necessary, highly restrictive regimes put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus, will have a huge impact on the mental health of prisoners....
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