Responding to the figures showing the number of prison staff with coronavirus has increased dramatically, with 873 staff having tested positive across England and Wales, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperon Daisy Cooper said:
"The figures showing the dramatic rise in Covid-19 cases amongst prison staff demonstrate that the government is allowing prisons to become a crucible for the virus.
"Whilst our prisons remain overcrowded and the government refuse to release all low-risk prisoners, there is no chance of social distancing. This puts the health of both staff and prisoners, as well as our communities, at risk.
"The government must listen to prison governors and end overcrowding in prisons before the consequences become even more severe. Liberal Democrats are calling for Ministers to release all low-risk prisoners serving short sentences and suspend any new short sentences. With tough licence conditions and electronic tagging, the government can keep our communities safe from both crime and the spread of coronavirus."