The lead Catholic Bishop for Prisons has welcomed the release of pregnant women and new mothers from custody, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. Writing to the Justice Secretary today, 1 April 2020, Bishop Richard Moth said:
“I recognise that this will not have been an easy step to take, but with Catholic charities and chaplains working in our prisons, this will help to relieve pressure on the prison estate and save lives.”
Urging the government to go further he said:
“On behalf of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, I encourage you to build upon this important decision and continue to tackle the spread of COVID-19 among staff and prisoners by releasing others who do not pose a risk to the public, especially older or vulnerable people.”
Earlier this week Bishop Richard had publicly called for the urgent release of older or unwell people, pregnant women and those who can be released on temporary licence without posing any risk to the wider public.
In his Angelus message on Sunday Pope Francis implored governments to prevent overcrowded prisons from becoming ‘a tragedy’ amid the pandemic.