PRISONERS within two months of their release date will be temporarily freed from jail during the pandemic. 

This is to ease pressures on the NHS and prison staff. 

Offenders who are low-risk will be released but will be electronically tagged.

Those who have committed violent or sexual crimes won't be included.

Lord chancellor and justice secretary Robert Buckland said: "This Government is committed to ensuring that justice is served to those who break the law.

"But this is an unprecedented situation because if Coronavirus takes hold in our prisons, the NHS could be overwhelmed and more lives put at risk.

"All prisoners will face a tough risk assessment and must comply with strict conditions, including an electronic tag, while they are closely monitored. Those that do not will be recalled to prison."

So far 88 prisoners and 15 prison staff have tested positive for Covid-19. 

And 26 per cent of staff have been self-isolating.

Precautions have already been set up to protect vulnerable prisoners by puting social distancing measures in place.

Employees have been re-deployed where necessary from headquarters to operational roles. 

And the number of people in custody has been reduced.