Legal action is being taken regarding restrictions on prison visits and lack of video contact available for families of prisoners since March of this year. This has significantly impacted children, particularly young children or those with disabilities, who have been unable to have meaningful contact with their incarcerated parents.
Pre-action letters have been served contending that the restrictions and lack of proper mitigating measures breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as being a failure properly to safeguard the best interests of children under the Children Act 2004 and amounting to unlawful discrimination against children with disabilities.
Although the Ministry of Justice has provided mobile phones and states that video contact is available in some prisons, the families involved have not had access to video calls. They argue that telephone is not practical for very young children or those with certain disabilities and that the lack of any meaningful contact for over 4 months is causing significant harm to the children.
Jonathan Metzer has been instructed as part of the legal team on behalf of the families by Clare Evans and Jade Brown of MW solicitors.
Featured in the Guardian here. For a broader look at prison conditions during the pandemic, read Jonathan’s article on the UK Human Rights Blog here.