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Discharged prisoners who have either tested positive for Covid-19 or shown symptoms of the illness have been given travel warrants to use on public transport to return to their homes, the Guardian has learned.

The prisoners had been quarantined, some in shared cells, as part of a strategy known as “cohorting”, which came under fire after the Guardian revealed the practice last week.

A source at Wandsworth prison has told the Guardian that several prisoners who were discharged after completing their sentences last week had been held in quarantine after either testing positive or showing symptoms.

They said legally the men had to be released because they had finished serving their prison sentences. But they expressed concern that there had been no discussions about how to safely transport prisoners home after release.

The prisoners were issued with standard travel warrants for use on public transport, along with a standard £42 discharge grant.

The source said some of the men in this category had shared cells with inmates in the cohorting area of the jail.

HMP Wandsworth is also receiving prisoners from other jails who had tested positive for Covid-19. A prisoner from Isis prison in London was transferred to Wandsworth last Thursday. Read more

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