COVID-19 in prisons and other detention settings

Prof Stuart Kinner, Head of the Justice Health Unit, recently spoke on ABC Radio National about the risk of COVID-19 to vulnerable people in prisons and other detention settingsin Australia, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  He called for national data on COVID-19 in these settings, and for consideration to be given to reducing the custodial population by releasing those deemed to be vulnerable or low risk. The broadcasts titled Indigenous families call for release of vulnerable prisoners during pandemic and Calls for Australian prisoners to be released as COVID-19 threatens can be accessed here and here.

Prof Kinner also spoke to news network Al Jazeera about the dangers of COVID-19 in prisons in low- and middle-income countries. One such country is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where prisons are at more than 400% of capacity. According to Prof Kinner, this overcrowding risks an explosive outbreak that could rapidly overwhelm the DRC's health system. The article titled Overcrowded DRC prisons 'ticking time-bomb' for COVID-19 pandemic can be accessed here.

Prof Kinner and the Justice Health Unit continue to support WHO and the international response to COVID-19 in custodial settings. Click here to access our recent news item on the WHO interim guidance and associated Lancet publication.