"It's made the prisoners kinder to each other": How Jersey's prison has stayed Covid-free

Just over 12 months ago when Jersey entered lockdown, life at HMP La Moye changed.

All staff and prisoners were required to wear face masks and physical visits from friends and family of inmates stopped.

Like elsewhere in the community the pandemic forced the prison community to adapt.

Visits and medical appointments moved to video calls and the daily schedule changed to allow for smaller groups of inmates to alternate between work and recreation.

It's affected staff quite drastically and it's only through the hard work of the staff, their flexibility, their pro-active approach to it that we've been able to fulfill and maintain the regime.

Pete Gould, Senior Officer, HMP La Moye

The biggest threat for the virus entering the prison community came from staff who were were given temperature checks on arrival, and most recently have had regular lateral flow tests.

28 prison staff were told to self-isolate in November 2020 after one person tested positive Credit: ITV Channel TV

Despite the measures, in November last year nearly a third of the workforce was in self-isolation after one member of staff tested positive.

We have had a few close calls where staff have been identified as being Covid positive, but because of the management structures we have in place we've been able to identify them before they come in and then they follow the self-isolation protocol and we remain Covid free as a result.

Andy Buttimer, Head of Healthcare, HMP La Moye

There have also been some positive changes brought about by the pandemic. The relationship between staff and inmates is said to have improved thanks to mutual respect and cooperation.

The change in regime has also resulted in prisoners spending more time out of their cells and finding new employment, including making face masks.

The prisoners have adhered to the measures put in place and because of that it's actually made our job easier as well. Some of the prisoners actually stated that they prefer the new regime. It's actually made them kinder to each other.

Bernadette Gallacher, Residential Officer, HMP La Moye

In recent weeks physical visits for prisoners have restarted, albeit behind screens and without physical contact.

The vaccination programme is advancing behind the prison walls for both staff and inmates with 95% of prisoners in the eligible groups vaccinated as part of phase 1 and around 80% have signed up to be vaccinated in phase 2.