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Report: Learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic in prisons (2023)

(Photo credit: Il Calendario 2021 della Polizia Penitenziaria)

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented changes globally, affecting customs, social interactions, and work practices. Prisons faced unique challenges due to their enclosed environments, making virus transmission a major concern. Most countries’ prison systems collaborated with health ministries but were ill-prepared for a long-term global outbreak. Infection prevention measures, limited prison activities, and reduced staff presence were implemented. The pandemic accelerated technological development, benefiting both staff work-from-home capabilities and prisoner access to education. Balancing legal prisoner entitlements with infection control was a prolonged challenge, causing physical and psychological strain. Recovery efforts continue, with potential benefits such as enhanced digital solutions, stronger partnerships, and reimagined prison regimes.

EuroPris saw the importance of supporting the needs of our members during COVID and as a result, we created an exchange platform in 2020. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, EuroPris convened a working group of representatives from England and Wales, Catalonia, Spain, France, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, and Cyprus to share best practices and lessons learned in the event of a major health crisis. The working group has produced a report in which they analyse the positive interventions that have emerged during the pandemic, leading to improvements in prison services.

Click here to view the report.