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Glen Parva Young Offender Institution

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when the recent outbreak of sickness caused by a norovirus infection was first detected at HMP Young Offender Institute (YOI) Glen Parva; how many prisoners and staff have been infected since then; how many prisoners required medical treatment outside the YOI; how the infection was introduced into the YOI; when he expects the YOI to be clear of the infection; what effect the infection has had on (i) prison security and (ii) the provision of education and rehabilitation for the prisoners; and if he will make a statement. (245179)

On 6 December, 16 prisoners at HMYOI Glen Parva reported sick with symptoms of sickness and vomiting. The following day this number had risen to 142. The illness was confirmed as being the ‘norovirus’ on 9 December. By 10 December, the number of prisoners reported to be suffering from this had peaked at 154.

Those prisoners who displayed symptoms had their movement restricted in order to reduce the risk of the illness spreading. All received medical attention and were cared for appropriately. No prisoner required outside medical treatment.

Since 6 December, there has been a slight increase in staff sickness across the establishment, however, only a handful of staff have reported to be experiencing similar symptoms to those described. The prison has worked closely with the local Environmental Health and the Health Protection Agencies in an attempt to establish potential causes and to reduce the risk of further infection. It is believed that the infection was introduced in the main prison population by either a member of staff or prisoner working from within the main prison kitchen.

In the initial stages some changes to the prison regime were necessary, however, as the outbreak occurred over a weekend period when the establishment operates a restricted regime, only prisoner association periods were affected. This was minimal and the prison was operating business as usual from 9 December. There has been no impact on prison security.

Every precaution is being taken to reduce the spread of the illness.

There are still some prisoners who are displaying similar symptoms, however, the virus outbreak is now over.