Nearly half of inmates at Welsh prison – the UK’s largest – refused Covid jab, official figures show
Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter
The latest official figures show almost half of the population of the UK’s largest jail, near Wrexham, has snubbed a Covid vaccination – but the Ministry of Justice disagrees.
Up to Tuesday 1,816 prisoners at HMP Berwyn had been offered the jab but only 52% (946 men) had received a first dose.
Fewer than 30% (532) have been fully vaccinated so far, according to statistics handed out by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
Yet the Ministry of Justice contests the numbers, saying more people have received a vaccine, but has so far failed to provide any figures of its own.
It comes after a report in Inside Time magazine revealed up to two-thirds of prisoners in some UK jails had refused a jab.
In early June it was reported there was a refusal rate of 66% at the detention facility which has improved, leading to hopes more inmates will become inoculated against Covid in time.
Gill Harris, Betsi’s executive director of nursing and midwifery, said: “All 1,816 men at HMP Berwyn have been offered the Covid-19 vaccine and information about the benefits of vaccination is being shared with them on a regular basis.
“As of (Tuesday), 946 men (52 per cent) had received a first dose, while 532 (29 per cent) had been fully vaccinated.
“We continue to encourage those who have yet to take up the offer of vaccination to come forward, in order to give themselves the very best protection from Covid-19.”
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) claimed she had received “confirmation” the number of prisoners who had received a vaccine shot was higher.
The department has not responded to a request for its own record of vaccination rates at the jail.
A spokesman for Betsi Cadwaldr UHB confirmed the figures it had originally given were a correct record of vaccination at the facility.
The MoJ spokeswoman said the prison has a “protective isolation unit for prisoners who present as symptomatic and those who have tested positive”.
There is also a prisoner and staff testing strategy in place with all new arrivals receiving PCR tests, while those due to be released are offered lateral flow tests.
A petition to Welsh Government, complaining about conditions at the prison was rejected in February this year because it doesn’t have jurisdiction over justice.
It claimed prisoners were being locked in cells for up to “24 hours a day” and there were “days where they are not fed due to mass number of staff being absent with Covid-19 or are isolating”.
The Ministry of Justice said it had brought in a number of changes across the prison estate in the interests of prisoners.
It said it had brought out “secure video calling” so inmates could keep in touch with their families and provided “more than 1,500 mobile phone handsets and extra phone credit”.
Prisoners with mental health issues had been supported by special teams of “key worker officers” providing one-to-one support for between five and six prisoners.
It added it had “moved vital rehabilitation work – such as education, work opportunities, and exercise – in-cell where possible”.
HMP Berwyn, dubbed a “superprison because of its size”, is Britain’s largest and capable of housing 2,100 category C criminals.
The £250m flagship jail has been beset by issues since it opened almost four-and-half years ago and has never reached full capacity.
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Fine. Not like they can infect the rest of us.
A fatuous posting.
They can infect fellow inmates and prison staff and people who visit the prison for whatever reasons, from solicitors visiting clients to delivery drivers. They also get released.
Do you suggest they are forced to have a jab against their will, maybe even force them to do some labour?
Maybe a “shower” afterwards? Why, heck, let’s not even stop at covid jabs, let’s experiment on them full stop.
Very slippery slope that my Nain and Taid fought against – there’s a war memorial in every Welsh village to remind you.
Even prisoners have the right to refuse medical intervention.
Is this the wales you want?
I’m not suggesting that at all.
I’m merely replying to the idea that a prison is seperate from the rest of society and that prisoners don’t matter.
It is in the interests of all in prisons, inmates or otherwise, and society in general that they be vaccinated. Nowhere did I suggest compulsion so I see no need for you to go rambling on at a tangent about your grandparents or war memorials.
I wasn’t rambling, I was making a point. That prisoners have human rights like the rest of us. They are, in the main, a temporary visitor in the institution. If you think standing up for someone Is rambling I stand my ground. Prisons and prisoners are part of society whether you like it or not. Prehaps treating them like they aren’t part of society, or don’t matter properly led to the circumstances of them going into one in the first place. Besides, the argument is mute as there’s only circumstantial evidence it prevents transmission and you still need to quarantine… Read more »
Was there anything in my original posting that said prisoners do not “have human rights like the rest of us” ?
It was merely in answer to the point made by Chris that prisoners don’t really matter.
Frankly I find the implication that anything in my original posting that implies that I would advocate using prisoner for experiments to be cretinously insulting.
See what happens Vaughan? Your appeals from superiority fallacy and ad hominem attacks on how other people post got you into a verbal contretemps (look that one up) that you had to try and filibuster (there’s another one) your way out of. You insult other posters yet whine that “ Frankly I find the implication that anything in my original posting that implies that I would advocate using prisoner for experiments to be cretinously insulting”. I mean that’s fair enough because you are an insulting cretin. And in reference to your desperate attempt to deflect the fire deservedly coming your… Read more »
What on earth does your second sentence mean? Not English syntax that I recognise.
Yes despite your near constant argumentum ab auctoritate fallacies you do seem a little limited in your knowledge of the interlopers’ language.
Maybe if you’d paid more attention in school?
My you’re quite the pompous buffoon aren’t you? You seem to like calling people’s posts fatuous. Recently learned what the word means eh?
So in your mind the prison will not have any Covid measures in place to protect staff and visitors? You think they are all naked in a big room together?
Don’t be asinine (but feel free to look up that word too)
They don’t have to be “naked in a big room” for a virus to spread eadoly in a closed environment like a prison, however well it is managed.
eadoly is not a term I recognise
Takes one to know one
Well that’s an idiotic idiom.
I know several dogs, but I am not a dog.
I know a Tory but I am not a Tory.
If that’s the sort of homespun drivel your parents taught you, no wonder you are perpetually incorrect
No jab…. no release date…. simple.
A better option would be offered the jab for an early ralealise. Its only a category C prison so most of the sentences are short anyway.
Nope. Why bargain with them to behave like decent citizens? You reward good behaviour. You do not provide incentives to drop resistance. Prison is not a spa holiday. They should not be pampered
If they’re tested before release, then the vaccine issue becomes a little less significant. It’s against the law to forec anyone to undergo medical treatment, so if they refuse a jab then they must take their chances along with the rest of the refuseniks.
A more immediate issue is who houses them on release, Cymru or England, if they’re from outside Wales?
A ridiculous idea.
Could you detain a short sentence inmate to indefinite detention for refusing to take a jab?
See? There you go again aggressively attacking posts you furiously disagree with. Are you going through the male menopause? Just buy yourself a motorbike or learn guitar like all the other sad sacks and chill out
“sad sacks” “chill out”?
Physician heal thyself!
Nah mate. Turnabout is fair play. You opened that box. You’re quite angry aren’t you? Can’t just disagree with someone without having a pop