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HMP Kilmarnock COVID19 cases: Community calls for action

19th March 2020

The prison services trade union Community is calling for restrictions to be introduced on prisoners at HMP Kilmarnock following confirmation of two confirmed cases of prisoners with COVID-19.

Responding to the news, Steve Farrell, Regional Secretary for Community, said:

“It’s unacceptable that there is still free prisoner movement at HMP Kilmarnock. There should be restricted movement and a controlled unlock – this is in the interests of both the officers on the frontline and the health of the other prisoners. We all understand that we are dealing with a challenging situation and we have committed to working constructively with the prison contractors to get through this. However, we are not going to remain silent when our members’ health & safety could be compromised when there are operational choices that could be taken, which would go towards addressing the problem.

“In light of the unprecedented circumstances, the independent prison director should have the autonomy to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our members, without fear of any financial penalties being imposed by the Scottish Prison Service.”

The Scottish Prison Service, which manages the contract run by Serco, can impose financial penalties if the prison goes into a controlled unlock.



1. A controlled unlock is when there is a designated number of manageable prisoners unlocked at any one time.
2. Restricted movement ensures that prisoners still have the rights and entitlements of their daily core day but in a controlled manner.
3. Community is the leading trade union for private justice, custodial and immigration services. Community is the recognised trade union at HMP Kilmarnock.

Further information: Matt Ball 07799 772250