24.We have heard of an instance where a prisoner was not able to join the funeral of a close family member either in person or remotely. The Minister assured us that the Government “wants people to be able to grieve and to participate as much as they can, notwithstanding that they are incarcerated.” She told us that “[e]very prison should have iPad facilities specifically for this purpose”. We agree that they should but are concerned to hear of this case where it did not happen. Preventing a person from attending a funeral of a close family member engages the right to a family life and attendance remotely, if not in person, should be guaranteed.
25.All prisoners, both men and women, should be able to attend funerals virtually where a close family member has died. In order to comply with the right to respect for private and family life, the authorities must assess each request to attend a funeral (whether in person of virtually) on its merits. Where it is not possible to attend in person, arrangements for virtual attendance should be facilitated. This is important to ensure that prisoners are able to grieve and to participate in funerals as far as possible during the pandemic. The Ministry of Justice should carry out a check to ensure all prisons are able to join funerals of close family members virtually.
40 [Lucy Frazer MP]
41 [Lucy Frazer MP]
Published: 3 July 2020