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NEWS

Short Update: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative recommends easing overcrowding of prisons in response to COVID-19 crisis

FairTrialsAdmin - April 9, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, prison conditions

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative issued today a detailed note addressed to the executive, judiciary, legal service providers and human rights institutions, on precautions to be taken inside prisons and measures to be adopted to ease overcrowding. The note includes references to steps taken by several Commonwealth countries as well as measures suggested by other national and international organisations to effectively prevent / contain the spread of the virus in prisons.  

The recommendations include in particular that the judiciary take urgent action to reduce the number of people being held in pre-trial detention as a matter of public health and safety, and resort to non-custodial alternatives, as far as possible. The note also recommends that police officers restrict arresting and detaining first time offenders for minor offences in order to reduce the influx of persons in pre-trial detention in prisons and provide support to prison administrators to ensure safe transit of released prisoners in case of lock down. 

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