Prisoner's human rights not violated during Covid

A court has ruled that confining a prisoner to their cell all day at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic did not constitute a violation of their human rights.

Wayne Mellor filed a case against the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), alleging that he experienced degrading or inhumane treatment at the Isle of Man Prison in April 2020.

However, the claim, which asserted that Wayne Mellor was deprived of sufficient medical treatment and food, and was kept in unsanitary conditions, was dismissed.

Deemster Christopher Cope stated in the judgment that the conditions in the prison’s isolation wing for new prisoners were considered an “extraordinary measure for extraordinary circumstances.”

‘Robust measures’ were put forward as the argument that the conditions in which inmates were confined to their cells, with limited access to food and medicine that was delivered once a day, did not violate the European Convention of Human Rights.

Mr. Mellor also expressed concerns about being allowed to shower only on the eighth day, but the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) argued that the facilities would have required disinfection after each use, which was not feasible due to a severe shortage of staff.

Another aspect of Wayne Mellor’s claim involved delays in providing medication and the substitution of Buprenorphine with methadone, which he argued resulted in him experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Additionally, he contended that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) had failed in its duty of care to safeguard the well-being of inmates.

Nonetheless, Deemster Cope concluded that access to healthcare and treatment was “more than sufficient,” and the implementation of extreme measures was necessary to safeguard detainees and staff from the virus. Thus, he upheld the Department of Home Affairs’ (DHA) duty of care.

The department settled out of court with four other prisoners who made claims while being held at the same time.

Following the publication of the ruling, the DHA released a statement acknowledging the challenging nature of the measures for both staff and prisoners.

However, they emphasized the necessity for robust measures to maintain the prison’s safety and security, considering it is the only prison on the island.


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By Ryan

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