Peter Clarke told BBC Newsnight that inmates were "losing hope" and warned of the impact on their mental health.
The Prison Officers' Association (POA) has said the practice - which aims to help reduce the spread of the virus - has reduced violence and self-harm and led to a more stable environment, the POA said.
But Mr Clarke, who is due to step down from his position at the end of October, said he found that argument "shallow" and "to an extent self-serving".
The Inspectorate for England and Wales says it has visited more than 50 prisons since the beginning of the pandemic and found that prisoners spending 23 hours a day in their cells was "normal".
Sentenced inmates are allowed out of their cells to attend work or education, to exercise and to socialise for short periods. But since lockdown much of this activity has stopped.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: "The measures we put in place limited the spread of the virus and saved lives.
"In line with the latest advice from Public Health England we are gradually easing restrictions, including increasing time out of cells."
Devon has three prisons: Channings Wood, near Newton Abbot; Dartmoor, in Princetown (pictured), and Exeter.
Giving police access to such details was described as "not a good idea" by the chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Police Federation earlier this week.
Andy Berry, from the organisation which represents rank and file officers up to the rank of chief inspector, tweeted that it was "not just because we’re busy enough but unbelievably some people don’t like police and the thought of officers at their door will put them off getting tested".
The news from NHS Test and Trace on Sunday led to worried app users - with it being downloaded more than 18m times since it launched in September - taking to social media to say they would delete it over privacy concerns.
The Department for Health and Social Care told the BBC that neither the police nor the government received any data from the app.
Covid-19 cases in Exeter University area dip below 100
Local Democracy Reporting Service
The cluster of coronavirus cases in the Pennsylvania and university area of Exeter has dipped below 100 for the first time in more than two weeks.
Having reached a figure of 322 on 10 October, the latest figures – which cover the period between 9 October and 15 October - show that the cluster has fallen to 88 cases.
It comes as cases across Devon continue to show downward trend and for the second day running, more clusters have dropped off the map than have been added to it, with seven clusters removed compared to six being added.
Other high clusters linked to the university area have also dropped with Central Exeter, also once over the 100 mark, down to 36, and St James’s Park and Hoopern down to 22.
Flood warnings and flood alerts in force
BBC South West
A flood warning is in force in Cornwall from Lands End to Lizard Point - excluding Mounts Bay - for Monday evening and Tuesday morning's high tides.
The Environment Agency said flooding was expected for Mousehole, Praa Sands, Porthleven and Mullion harbour and immediate action is required.
A flood alert is in place between Lizard Point and Gribbin Head, with flooding considered to be possible for the Helford and the Fal, Penryn, Flushing, St Mawes, Portscatho, Portloe, Portholland, Mevagissey and Par.
The alert is to "be prepared".
In Devon, flood alerts are in place for the north coast, from Hartland Point to Lynmouth; Plymouth, Torbay and the south Devon estuaries.
The results of a BBC Freedom of Information request showed it was among five policing areas which saw a double-digit increase in the number of dog thefts reported between January and July 2020, compared with the previous year - up to 47 from 25.
The RSPCA said the figures were "really concerning" and it was urging all dog owners to "take extra precautions" to protect pets by "neutering them, ensuring they are microchipped and ensuring they wear a collar with contact details".
Police also said owners to take extra precautions.
Devon and Cornwall Police said: "We take all matters of animal theft seriously and we appreciate the distress and heartache that dog thefts cause."
SW Tories sign letter on Manchester Covid restrictions
BBC South West
MPs from across the greater South West, including Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire, were among 20 Tories who over the weekend wrote to urge Greater Manchester's mayor to "engage" with the government's coronavirus restrictions, which prompted anger from some of their own colleagues.
Ministers said Greater Manchester needs to be in the top tier of restrictions, but local leaders said they wanted better financial support before they agree to being moved up to the top tier of rules.
Local elected mayor Andy Burnham said he wanted the government to re-introduce the 80% furlough scheme used previously in the pandemic to support the low paid affected by tier three closures.
Four Conservative MPs for the region said the from the 20 MPs letter was unhelpful.
Meanwhile, further delays to the decision on Greater Manchester's Covid restrictions would "put people's lives at risk", the communities secretary has said.
Robert Jenrick said he hoped he could reach an agreement with the region's MPs, and Mr Burnham, on Monday.
Talks are due to continue later after a weekend of discussions.
The South West MPs who signed the letter included -
University students banned from mixing for another week
Local Democracy Reporting Service
A ban on University of Exeter students mixing with other households has been extended for a further seven days in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
The latest statistics from Devon County Council showed there were 262 positive cases in Exeter up to 14 October, with Public Health England confirming more than 70% of these were linked to the university.
The university said it remained in a "fragile position" and was "steadfast" in its commitment to fight the virus.
Registrar and secretary Mike Shore-Nye added it would need to see "a clear trend" before lifting the restrictions.
Dr Virginia Pearson, Director of Public Health for Devon, said new cases in the community showed the virus was spreading among the non-student population, and urged the city's residents to be "extra vigilant" in following public health advice.
Plymouth Tory leader defended by colleagues
Local Democracy Reporting Service
Senior members of the city council’s Conservative group have spoken out in support of the leadership after a series of resignations.
But in a statement on Thursday, two senior members strongly backed leader Nick Kelly, who replaced Councillor Bowyer in March.
The statement from current deputy leader Patrick Nicholson and former leader Vivien Pengelly described the resignations and criticism as “very disappointing”.
They deny allegations about the behaviour of senior members of the group, say those who have left have been unable to accept the democratic change in leadership, and praise the “energetic” approach of Councillor Kelly in holding the city council’s ruling Labour group to account.
Thursday’s statement said the resignations and comments were “very disappointing when they are all supposed to believe in team work and democracy in order to represent their respective local communities and the wider city of Plymouth".
More than 70 historic landmarks across the wider South West have been added to Historic England's annual 'Heritage at Risk' register.
The 2020 register identifies sites of historic importance that could be lost forever as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.
Historic England has crested a map which shows the at risk sites.
It says 53 historic buildings in the region have been saved thanks to work it carried out.
Helland Bridge spanning over the River Camel, built in the 15th Century is just one of the 71 landmarks to have been added to the list this year.
"Its carriageway is less than 10ft (3m) wide, and not built for modern traffic such as caravans, horse-boxes, tractors with trailers and lorries," Historic England said.
The wider South West region includes Wiltshire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Gloucestershire.
More Conservative councillors resign
Local Democracy Reporting Service
Two more councillors have left the Conservative group on Plymouth City Council, taking the total number of recent departures to six.
The latest to resign are Andrea Johnson and Richard Ball, both councillors in the Compton ward alongside group leader Nick Kelly.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, they blamed "irreconcilable differences" with the current leadership.
Councillor Ball, who was Lord Mayor until May, said the group had "fallen apart" and suffered "massive damage".
The spate of resignations began when former leader Ian Bowyer and Peverell councillor Tony Carson quit on Friday after being suspended for comments in a press release calling for a cut in the speed limit on the A38.
They urged the Labour-run council to seek a review following concerns about safety, pollution and congestion.
Councillor Kelly said they were temporarily suspended pending an investigation as they had broken group rules and their statements did not represent the group’s views.
He denied allegations from Councillor Bowyer, who he replaced as leader in March, that there was a culture of "aggression and intimidation" and said the disciplinary action had followed group procedure.
The departures were followed on Monday by Councillor Bowyer’s colleagues in the Eggbuckland ward, his wife Lynda Bowyer and Heath Cook, in protest at the leadership’s behaviour.
Passengers 'turned away' from buses if they get too full
Local Democracy Reporting Service
Buses across Devon are having to turn away customers if they get too full.
Stagecoach’s managing director Mike Watson told councillors at a Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee meeting that most of their buses were operating at 50% of pre-lockdown capacity to encourage social distancing.
He said that, while there may be exceptions, the capacity limits mean that there had been times when signs saying "bus full" have been displayed and that additional passengers won’t be able to hop on board.
He said there were fears about what may happen in 2021 as the current agreement with the government to fund any losses runs out in January, as "social distancing means our business model doesn’t work".
He added that passenger adherence to the wearing of face coverings has been good with limited issues around compliance, and that at present, the revenue shortfall is being made up by the government.
But he said that the scheme runs until January, and he added: “If it is not extended, we will face a real challenge and have to take action on the network. Social distancing means our business model doesn’t work.”
Among them was Cornwall MP for St Ives Derek Thomas, who said he could not see the point of early closures as "we have pubs that are being told to close, they're looking out of their window and seeing large groups of people drinking after curfew, drinking alcohol they bought in high street stores and supermarkets".
Two MPs from neighbouring Devon also voted against the curfew: Anthony Mangnall of Totnes and Newton Abbot's Anne Marie Morris.
Public health authorities from Exeter City Council previously emphasised this spike of infection rates was mostly restricted to the university and "not in the community".
The rest of both counties are significantly lower than the national infection rate of 139 cases per 100,000.
The other infection rates in local authorities are:
Torbay - 65 cases per 100,000
Plymouth - 51 cases per 100,000
Teignbridge - 50 cases per 100,000
East Devon - 49 cases per 100,000
West Devon - 43 cases per 100,000
Mid Devon - 40 cases per 100,000
North Devon - 33 cases per 100,000
South Hams - 32 cases per 100,000
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly - 29 cases per 100,000
Torridge - 22 cases per 100,000
Covid patients increase pauses Plymouth hospital surgery
BBC South West
Non-critical inpatient surgery at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital has been temporarily paused because of a growing number of Covid patients and "a need to ensure we can keep everyone safe", bosses have said.
NHS trust chief operating officer Kevin Baber said any patients affected were being contacted directly and anyone who had heard from the hospital should "please follow the instructions on your letter and attend as planned".
Surgery for patients attending the hospital as day cases, without needing an overnight stay, was still going ahead for most patients, he added.
He said: "We appreciate how difficult it is for a patient to have their surgery cancelled and apologise for the distress and inconvenience this causes. It is always a difficult decision to make but safety is our priority.
"We have to ensure patients who have suspected or confirmed Covid are safely cared for away from those patients without Covid. This involves re-configuring our wards to ensure everyone remains safe.
"We will be looking to resume planned inpatient surgery as soon as possible."
Vaccines are designed to train the immune system in a highly targeted way that leaves lasting protection against one particular infection.
But this process also causes widespread changes in the immune system. This seems to heighten the response to other infections and scientists hope it may even give our bodies an advantage against coronavirus.
"This could be of major importance globally," Prof John Campbell, of the University of Exeter Medical School, told the BBC.
"Whilst we don't think it [the protection] will be specific to Covid, it has the potential to buy several years of time for the Covid vaccines to come through and perhaps other treatments to be developed."
But while millions of people in the UK will have had the BCG jab as a child, it is thought they would need to be vaccinated again to benefit.
However, Dr Virgina Pearson (pictured), director of public health for Devon, said it was remaining under control.
First of all, it's contained at the moment. Secondly, although the numbers look very high, that's because we're doing a lot of testing, and that's a good thing. Thirdly, there's confidence in the local arrangements - we've have a daily outbreak control team that meets and we know that the students who have been advised by the university on what they should be doing are complying."
The University of Exeter said earlier it would not hesitate to continue taking action against students who break coronavirus rules, and that a "handful" of students have been sent home for not keeping to the guidelines.
University 'not hesitating in Covid breach action'
Most cases have been in the student community, the institution has previously confirmed.
Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Tim Quine said he did "emphasise the great majority are really working with us and
There have been a number of cases we've had to reprimand. We don't go straight to reprimand - we're following a model of education and encouragement first. We'd never exclude anyone from the university lightly, so it's always with regret."
Meanwhile, health bosses have told the city's MP there was still no evidence that continuing rise in the number of Covid-19 cases linked to the university has spread to the rest of Exeter, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reports.
Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said: "While Exeter is the top Covid hotspot in the south of England, we shouldn’t be over-alarmed about that.
"In a small city like Exeter, with a large student population, all it takes is for there to be a couple of outbreaks in student halls for the city’s overall figures to look very high.
“So far, according to local public health officials, wider community spread has been minimal, with the virus largely contained in student halls and shared student housing in the city."
Supply chain problems halt non-urgent blood tests in Devon
Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche said problems with a move to a new warehouse had led to a "very significant" drop in its processing capacity.
A spokesman said Covid-19 tests would be prioritised, but it could take two weeks to fix the issue.
However, the backlog could affect tests including for cancer and heart disease, and GPs in Devon have been asked to stop all non-urgent blood tests.
Dr Tom Lewis, lead clinician for pathology at North Devon District Hospital, in Barnstaple, said his hospital's trust had sent out communications that all non-urgent blood tests in the community should be stopped.
Without rationing these non-urgent tests, he said, they would run out of swabs in "three to four days".
Even with rationing, essential equipment could run short by next week, he added.
Roche said: "We deeply regret that there has been a delay in the dispatch of some products."
Pedestrian injured in Plymouth road crash
A pedestrian has been injured in Plymouth after a road crash.
Police said they were called to Kings Road in Devonport at about 08:20.
The pedestrian received non life-threatening injuries and was being treated by an ambulance, they added.
The road has been closed.
Scammers steal £43m from Devon and Cornwall victims
Scammers have taken more than £43m from people in Devon and Cornwall in a year, according to figures from the region's police force.
It said it received more than 9,000 reports of scams in the year until August.
It is believed the real number could be much higher due to low levels of reporting.
Chris Kent, a volunteer driver for vulnerable people in the region, was made a victim when he thought he was helping investigators to uncover fraudulent banking activity.
He was persuaded to draw out money from his own bank account which would be "transferred" to another account.
"I said yes", Mr Kent told the BBC.
"He was so convincing, that I thought to myself I've got to help."
Exeter sees further rise in coronavirus cases
Another rise in coronavirus cases in Exeter has been confirmed by the latest figures published.
In the week to Saturday, there were 372 positive tests, compared with 80 in the previous seven-day period.
The infection rate in the city now stands at 283 cases per 100,000 population, which is the 16th highest in England, and higher than many places which have additional restrictions including Bolton, Middlesbrough and Leicester.
The average for England is 108. Exeter's rate, which is more than two-and-a-half times that rate is the highest in the south of England by a large margin.
Torbay's new case numbers have risen from 20 to 54 and the infection rate is just below 40 per 100,000.
There were 37 additional new cases in Teignbridge, taking its rate to 35.8.
Torridge and the South Hams were among the 10 council areas with the lowest infection rates in the country.
Across the wider South West, latest figures show just 10 new patients were admitted to hospital with Covid on Saturday.
Plymouth getting 50 new electric vehicle charging points
Covid-19 cases in Exeter 'above the national average'
Local Democracy Reporting Service
For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, the number of new cases being confirmed in Exeter has risen above the national average.
There have been 78 cases confirmed in Exeter in the last seven days – a rate of 59.4 per 100,000 people - the average for England is 55.4 per 100,000.
Asked whether there were any discussions around a local lockdown for Exeter, a Devon County Council spokesman said: “A decision of a magnitude of a city-wide lockdown would be made at a national level.
"At the moment, case numbers are not there.”
Areas of concern do not get local lockdown rules immediately but are flagged on the watchlist to ensure they get extra testing capacity and are more closely monitored.
Areas for enhanced support are those at a medium-high risk of intervention where there is a more detailed plan, agreed with the national authorities, while areas of intervention see ‘local lockdown’ rules imposed.
Despite case rates in Exeter being higher than some areas of the country on the the government’s coronavirus watchlist, the city was not added when the changes were made late on Thursday.
This is because despite the incidence being higher than some areas on the watchlist, the cases have mainly been confined to university students with no evidence yet of onward community transmission, and some of the areas on the list are geographically surrounded by areas where the incidence is much higher, which isn’t the case in Devon.
Steve Brown, deputy director of Public Health Devon, has thanked university students for responding to the new additional measures to curb the coronavirus infection and said it was essential that everyone in the city’s community continued to follow the rules to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Powerlifter aiming for world title
BBC News Online
A powerlifter is looking to push for a world title after winning European gold in Slovakia last month.
For her day job, Ellen Freeborn, 29, who grew up in Bovey Tracey but now lives in Davidstow, works in a laboratory, using her masters degree in chemistry.
But in her spare time she lifts weights more than three times her own bodyweight.
Lockdown has forced her to set up her own home gym for the hours of training she needs to put in.
"I think people find it quite interesting and people are quite surprised when they realise what I do in my spare time," she said.
"Nobody really expects it because it is such a contrast."
Ellen said she would like to get a couple of records and "just try to keep achieving and progressing".
Weather warnings for Friday, Saturday and Sunday
BBC News Online
Weather warnings are in place for parts of the South West for the next three days with incoming storms.
Storm Alex, a weather system named by Météo-France, is expected to hit the region on Friday with a second bout of wind and rain due to arrive later on Friday.
Steve Ramsdale, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “It’ll be quite a miserable end to the working week for southern and south-west England as Storm Alex brings heavy rain and strong winds tomorrow, with coastal gales of around 60-65mph for some."
The Met Office said parts of south-west England could see more than 100mm of rain falling over the weekend, which is "likely to lead to significant impacts from flooding, an enhanced risk of landslides along with very difficult driving conditions".
Mr Ramsdale said: "As the strong winds and rain associated with Storm Alex clear away from Britain later on Friday, another low-pressure system moves towards the UK from the east bringing further very heavy rain and strong winds to many over the weekend.”
South West Covid-19 cases still below English average
Cases of Covid-19 in the South West are still below the national average and, in most cases, well below, BBC research on the latest figures show.
Plymouth is one of the few parts of the country to show a reduction in cases over the week to Sunday, compared with the previous seven days.
The number of cases in the city dropped from 55 to 44, and the infection rate is 16.9 per 100,000 population.
Cornwall remains the area in the region with the highest number of cases.
In the week to Sunday, numbers went up from 115 to 180. The infection rate is 31.5 per 100,000.
Exeter, where a large proportion of cases is among students, has seen the number of cases increase from 28 to 67 in the week to Sunday. The infection rate is 51 per 100,000 of the population.