Prisons and COVID-19: the real lockdown
A third of the world’s population are facing some level of restriction on their movement as governments attempt to contain the novel coronavirus. Limits on ‘normal’ life range from mass gatherings to complete ‘lockdowns’ with penalties for leaving home without the required paperwork.
Lockdowns have also been seen in national prison systems the world over with fears of the disease ‘rampaging through places of detention’. There is a reason to be fearful. Prisons are notoriously hotbeds for infectious diseases. People live and sleep on top of each other – in the literal sense in some countries – and there is little fresh air, lack of nutritious food, and shortages in healthcare provision as documented in our recent report, Global Prison Trends 2020. To date there have been almost 40,000 cases of infection among people in prison reported and tracked across 60 countries and around 750 deaths in 28 countries – although the numbers will in fact be much higher.
When we look at the lockdowns people in prison are facing, we can see that like with many things, what is happening in the community is not only mirrored in prisons but magnified.
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