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COVID-19: The Case for Rethinking Health and Human Rights in Prisons

Pont, Jörg
Enggist, Stefan
Stöver, Heino
Published in American journal of public health. 2021, vol. 111, no. 6, p. 1081-1085
Abstract This article considers health and human rights implications for people deprived of liberty during the COVID-19 crisis. The health risks of incarceration for individual and community health, particularly in overcrowded and underresourced prisons and detention centers, are well known, but with the COVID-19 pandemic have become a public health emergency.Physical distancing in prisons is hardly manageable, and protective means are poor or lacking. Emergency releases have been shown to be feasible in terms of public safety but lack sustainability in reducing the number of people living in detention, and, globally, only a small proportion of them have been released. Without controlling the infection inside prisons, global efforts to tackle the spread of the disease may fail. People living in detention are not only more vulnerable to infection with COVID-19 but they are also especially vulnerable to human rights violations induced by inappropriate restrictions under the pretext of infection control. Therefore, alternatives for detention should be promoted and the number of incarcerated people radically decreased.This article calls on policymakers and all professionals involved in public health and criminal justice not to waste the opportunities provided by the crisis but to act now.
Keywords COVID-19/prevention & controlHealth StatusHuman RightsHumansInfection Control/organization & administration/standardsPrisoners/statistics & numerical dataPrisons/standardsPublic Health
PMID: 33856878
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PONT, Jörg et al. COVID-19: The Case for Rethinking Health and Human Rights in Prisons. In: American Journal of Public Health, 2021, vol. 111, n° 6, p. 1081-1085. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2021.306170 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:155764

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Deposited on : 2021-10-28

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