Mother appeals for prisoner’s temporary release on health grounds

mother appeals for prisoners temporary release on health grounds - Mother appeals for prisoner's temporary release on health groundsImage copyright Angela Monfries
Image caption Angela Monfries says her son’s life is at risk while he is in prison

The mother of a prisoner with a serious health condition says she fears for her son’s life because he cannot shield safely from coronavirus in jail.

Dwight Monfries-Jones, 35, from Bristol, is serving more than 12 years for drug offences and suffers from the blood disorder sickle cell anaemia.

His mother Angela Monfries wants him to be allowed out temporarily.

The Prison Service said measures were in place to protect prisoners from Covid-19.

Monfries-Jones pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply Class A drugs and possession of a controlled drug with intent.

He was sentenced to 12 years and nine months in December 2018 and is serving his sentence at Guys Marsh Prison in Dorset.

Image caption Ms Monfries wants her son to be released temporarily

Ms Monfries said her son had “not been given a life sentence” but it “would be a life sentence” if he is not allowed out temporarily, because he is unable to shield safely from coronavirus in prison.

She said he was unable to exercise as much as normal and his mental health was suffering – both of which she said could affect his condition – and he was at risk of contracting the virus via contaminated cutlery as he was no longer able to prepare his own meals.

“I’m scared. Dwight has a serious illness and a serious illness with Covid-19 is fatal,” she said.

“I can understand [there will be no sympathy for him], but I’m trying to follow the NHS guidelines.

“I’m not expecting him not to finish his sentence.”

Emergency government guidelines introduced in April, state prisoners must have served at least half their custodial term and be within weeks of their release date before they can be considered for early release.

The Ministry of Justice said: “The public rightly expects us to put their safety first – and we make no apologies for doing so.

“Strong measures are in place to protect prisoners and tackle coronavirus, and Public Health England has said our approach is limiting the spread of the virus in jails.”

Ms Monfries said her son was awaiting the outcome of an appeal to the prison’s governor to be released temporarily.

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