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NEWS

Short Update: Worldwide prisoner releases fail to include low-level drug offences fall short of necessary measures to protect public health

FairTrialsAdmin - July 8, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Prisoner releases, Prison monitoring

Over 11 million people are imprisoned around the world, according to Penal Reform International. Twenty-one percent of those 11 million are detained for non-violent drug offences, including drug use and possession for personal use. 

Harm Reduction International have recorded that there have been prison decongestion measures in 109 countries between March and June 2020 in response to COVID-19, and have found that around a quarter of countries implementing decongestion schemes explicitly excluded people incarcerated for drug offences; effectively prioritising punitive approaches to drug control over the health of the prison population. 

As a result, the cumulative effect of COVID-19-related schemes only reduced the global prison population by less than 6%, as at 24 June 2020. This falls significantly short of the significant political commitments and reductions necessary to protect public health.  

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected]

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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