New figures obtained by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Gazette reveal that prison bosses spent £83,000 between March and September to make HMP Erlestoke covid-secure.

Prisons across the country have dramatically changed due to the pandemic.

Operators have introduced secure video calls at more than 105 prisons, provided more than 1,500 mobile phone handsets, and given extra phone credit to help prisoners maintain important family ties during lockdown.

At Erlestoke, near Devizes, new figures show that buying PPE has alone cost more than £10,000.

Prison operators have forked out £27,000 on portable style new accommodation called ‘bunkabins’ and have also spent an additional £3,000 on additional covid-specific cleaning.

Other spending has been broken down in various other categories, such as new signage, social distancing equiptment and refrigerator hire.

The Ministry of Justice was asked to provide a response to the HMP Erlestoke figures.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and to protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons.”

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