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Prisons: Church Services

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN HL3162, tabled on 18 October 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that all HM Prisons provide a weekly chapel service.

Answered on

27 October 2021

Prison Service Instruction 05/2016, Faith and Pastoral Care for Prisoners, states that all prisoners may participate in the main religious observance of the week for the faith in which they are registered should they wish to - safety, security and other concerns permitting.

This requirement was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic because of infection prevention and control measures. Alternative arrangements were put in place, including making available in-cell faith resources and the use of technology. Chaplains continued to make themselves available to prisoners on a daily basis and chapels have remained open for individual worship and pastoral care throughout the pandemic.

Establishments are reintroducing weekly collective worship or meditation taking into account Covid safety measures and security considerations, as well as other factors, such as available staffing in multi-faith chaplaincy teams and the physical space available.