The outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 virus confronts Prison Services daily with new challenges.
Prison Services are dealing with closed environments and this makes it especially difficult to provide for the right care for both, prisoners and staff working in prisons.
Prison Services are eager to hear from their colleagues in other European countries, how they are dealing with this situation, what approaches and measures they took to keep the situation as much as possible under control.
On this page we would like to gather and share all regulations/protocols/approaches European Prison Services or related organisations have drafted or taken in order to deal with the Covid-19 virus.
If you have information to add to this page, please mail [email protected]
This page will be updated every day.
The ICPA is also providing information from their members regarding COVID-19 on their website. To consult their information please click here.
View answers from 13 member states on their approach to taking procedures issued by their national administration towards the emergency of the corona spread in prison, probation centers, etc.
The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today a statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has created extraordinary challenges for the authorities of all member States of the Council of Europe”, says Mykola Gnatovskyy, President of the CPT. “There are specific and intense challenges for staff working in various places of deprivation of liberty, including police detention facilities, penitentiary institutions, immigration detention centres, psychiatric hospitals and social care homes, as well as in various newly-established facilities/zones where persons are placed in quarantine. Whilst acknowledging the clear imperative to take firm action to combat COVID-19, the CPT must remind all actors of the absolute nature of the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. Protective measures must never result in inhuman or degrading treatment of persons deprived of their liberty.”
In the CPT’s view, the following principles should be applied by all relevant authorities responsible for persons deprived of their liberty within the Council of Europe area.
WHO/Europe has published interim guidance on how to deal with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in prisons and other places of detention, entitled “Preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention”.
The guidance provides useful information to staff and health care providers working in prisons, and to prison authorities. It explains how to prevent and address a potential disease outbreak and stresses important human rights elements that must be respected in the response to COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention. Access to information and adequate health care provision, including for mental disorders, are essential aspects in preserving human rights in such places. To read further the article on the website of WHO/Europe, click here.
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee is an inter-agency forum of UN and non-UN humanitarian partners founded in 1992, to strengthen humanitarian assistance. The overall objective of the IASC is to improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected populations.
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic and as it is spreading, identified vulnerabilities such as the situation of persons deprived of their liberty in prisons, administrative detention centres, migration detention centres and drug rehabilitation centres, require a specific focus.
Persons deprived of their liberty might face higher vulnerabilities as the spread of the virus can expand rapidly due to the usually high concentration of persons deprived of their liberty in confined spaces and to the restricted access to hygiene and health care in some contexts. International standards highlight that states should ensure that persons in detention have access to the same standard of health care as is available in the community, and that this applies to all persons regardless of citizenship, nationality or migration status.
Maintaining health in detention centres is in the interest of the persons deprived of their liberty as well as of the staff of the facility and the community. The series of messages below aim at assisting OHCHR and UNCT/HCT in addressing the specific issues of persons deprived of their liberty with the responsible services and ministries (Ministry of Justice/Ministry of Interior/Ministry of Health/Agencies in charge of migration and rehabilitation centres, etc).
Supported by the Justice Programme of the European Union