Visitors to La Moye Prison are now allowed to kiss their loved ones for the first time in over two years.
Social visits for all prisoners were first suspended on 25 March 2020 as part of the Prison Service’s measures to help minimise the spread of covid.
In-person prison visits were reinstated on 6 July 2020, however strict hygiene measures remained in place meaning that visitors had to wear face masks and were not allowed to touch, hug, or kiss the people they were visiting.
For the rest of Jersey, almost all covid measures were lifted on 26 August 2021 when the island moved into Stage 7 of its 'reconnection plan'.
This included allowing unlimited numbers of people in homes and garden, the full reopening of nightclubs, permission for large events, and the removal of the requirement to wear masks in most indoor public places.
However, the prison rules banning kisses between prisoners and their visitors remained in place for almost an entire year after the rest of the island was almost completely free of all covid restrictions.
Pictured: Nightclubs reopened and large events were permitted almost a whole year before prisoners were allowed to kiss their loved ones.
It was only this month that greeting kisses were permitted again, meaning that people who have been in La Moye Prison since early 2020 were prevented from kissing their loved ones for a total of 868 days.
In a Freedom of Information request published on 22 July 2022, a member of the public asked: “Could you please explain why HMP La Moye has allowed extra visits, hugging, family visits, kids play area open, a buffet at family visits where everyone touches the food and more but won't allow two adults to kiss?”
They added: “The rule seems backwards now, it's not part of any regulations or guidelines. We wear a mask and still do a PCR on every entry.
“So this basic gesture shouldn't be held off anymore. Is there another reason behind it? As not one visitor can understand why you aren't allowing this but allowing everything else.”
Pictured: People who have been in HMP La Moye since early 2020 were prevented from kissing their loved ones for a total of 868 days.
The Government response to this enquiry explained that the “States of Jersey Prison Service current no-kissing policy is agreed with the Covid Safe team, specifically Infection Prevention and Control”.
They added: “This falls in line with other community-based organisations such as care homes.
“The non-kissing policy is part of a multi-layered approach to keeping prisoners safe.”
However, in response to a recent Express inquiry, the Government confirmed that this policy was reviewed at the beginning of this month and “greeting kisses” are now permitted in the prison.
A Government spokesperson said: “The policy was reviewed on 10 August, following consultation with HMP Infection Control Group, and a decision was made to allow for greeting kisses to again be permitted; this means prisoners and their visitors can kiss each other at the start and finish of visits.
“All visitors to the prison are still required to take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) and have a negative result, prior to entering.”
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