European human rights activists in mid-March addressed to the world health organization and the Council of Europe with a request to release part of prisoners. According to them, the prisons are often overcrowded, with prisoners often weakened immune system, the self-isolation it is not possible, because of what the inmates at risk of Contracting coronavirus. The governments of various countries have already pardoned prisoners deemed dangerous to society, temporarily release them or transfer bail.
With a similar request to prevent outbreaks of coronavirus in prisons to the local authorities asked human rights activists from France, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE and Egypt. But while the authorities of these countries not listen to them, writes “the Media”.
The “Open media” it is written that the state Duma may refuse Amnesty in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Victory. “People are very scared and wary of those who are now in isolation in prison. It is the unconscious story that takes place in the minds of people that, perhaps, there of the disease, and no one is checked – out, will infect us,” – said the Deputy Chairman of the HRC Irina Kirkor.
Many other States in terms of the epidemic have already begun to unload the penitentiary system, the authorities amnestied prisoners deemed dangerous to society, temporarily release them or transfer bail. So, on March 22 the Department of correctional services new York city reports positive test results for coronavirus in 29 prisoners and 17 prison staff, after which there was released 75 prisoners. A few days in the prison of Rikers island virus found in 60 people. Mayor bill de Blasio promised that the power released from this prison some 300 elderly prisoners convicted of non-violent crimes. With freedom will come the perpetrators of domestic violence or crimes of a sexual nature.
By 24 March, the County of Los Angeles due to the threat of the spread of coronavirus released from prison about 1,700 inmates, about 10% of all prisoners, the most populous district of the United States. Governor of California Gavin Newsom fears that many of them have no permanent residence and they will get a virus on the loose.
Oklahoma authorities freed about 200 prisoners at easy articles to make room for quarantine have committed more serious crimes. Several districts in the state of Utah has also reduced the number of prisoners: County of salt lake, Uinta, and Duchesne released a total of about 300 people; about 100 people have reduced the number of prisoners in the County of Davis, where go those who spent at least 75% of the term, provided that the prosecution and the victims do not oppose. In the coming days in Utah should release at least another 200 people. The possible release of the prisoners also announced in California, Ohio and Texas. One of those who had discovered the coronavirus, became infamous and was recently jailed producer Harvey Weinstein.
On 12 March, the king of Bahrain Hamad bin ISA al-Khalifa issued a decree granting pardon to a prisoner 901. Another 585 people were replaced by punishment not related to deprivation of liberty. The decision of the king was justified on “humanitarian grounds in support of the circumstances”. At that time the country had 210 cases of infection with coronavirus. This Amnesty was the largest in the country since mass protests in 2011, after which the prison was about 700 people.
According to human rights activists from the Center for human rights in Bahrain, Amnesty was among about 300 people who were convicted for political reasons. But the most prominent political prisoners and leaders of the local opposition, in spite of chronic illness, remained behind bars. Not released, and the country’s last political prisoner, a woman of Zakeya al-Barbari.
On 17 March the authorities announced that all amnestied tested for coronavirus – they were released only after tests showed a negative result. However, the human rights activist Fatima Yazbeck from the Institute of democracy and human rights in the Gulf reported that in the largest prison of the country JRRC recently appeared prisoner of Pakistani origin with a high fever and severe cough. Yazbeck, citing other activists reports that the guards of the prison took no measures to protect other prisoners. Moreover, Cams are not ventilated, crowded and missing regular sterilization, which can lead to further spread of the virus.
According to the U.S. Department of state, in 2017 in Bahrain there were about 3 500 prisoners. Prisoners regularly complained about the conditions of detention, and human rights activists reported that they were denied medical care. The Board of Bahrain for the rights of prisoners visited the prison JRRC at the end of 2015 and noted the overcrowding, the unsanitary conditions in some cases and lack of hygiene of the prisoners. In January 2020, after the epidemic of scabies more than a hundred prisoners went on hunger strike due to unsanitary conditions and substandard medical care.
Authorities of the German North Rhine-Westphalia has promised to release a thousand prisoners. The authorities estimate, in the case of the beginning of the epidemic in the prisons will need thousands of empty seats for the organization of quarantine. The Amnesty will affect the convicted for a period up to 18 months if the period of their detention ends before July 31, 2020, with the exception of those convicted of violent crimes and sexual offences. Will not affect relief and those who committed a new crime is already in prison. Only 36 of the prisons of this region and contains 16 thousand prisoners.
The Supreme court of India on 23 March ordered all States and Union territories of India to organize the Commission that will decide which prisoners can be released on parole to reduce prison overcrowding in the context of the epidemic COVID-19. The court determined that the opportunity given to those who had been sentenced to terms up to 7 years. In addition, the court banned the movement of prisoners except when it helps to cope with overcrowding, and forbade the presence of prisoners in the court buildings.
After that the authorities of capital territory of Delhi has announced that it will immediately bail for 45 days for those accused of minor crimes, has been imprisoned for not less than three months and is awaiting a court decision. On March 23, the leadership of Tihar jail in Delhi has promised to release in the coming days about 3 000 prisoners to reduce overcrowding. About half of them will be waiting to start trial or sentence. A large part of the released any foreigners who are coming to the end, or those whose pleas for bail are still pending.
On March 24 the state government of Tamil Nadu was released on bail 136 prisoners from the prison of Coimbatore and promised to soon release another 17 people. A few days before this, the government of Maharashtra appealed to the Supreme court because of the epidemic to release approximately 5,000 inmates. Those convicted of minor crimes, a term which does not exceed five years, asked to release him on bail. Those who have committed non-violent crimes for the first time and is able to pay the Deposit, I propose to give leave for medical reasons. In the prison, according to the accounting chamber of India for 2019, and contains 36 thousand prisoners, is 50% more of their capacity.
According to official figures, for the year 2018 in correctional institutions India contained 466 thousand prisoners, the total overpopulation was 17%, while in some prisons it reached 74%. Two-thirds of prisoners were in jail waiting for trials to begin.
The Ministry of justice of Ireland has developed a plan intended to prevent outbreaks of coronavirus in places of deprivation of liberty – it needs to run sequentially, depending on the development of the epidemic. The Ministry proposes to simplify the access of prisoners to the temporary exemption, to amend its rules, as well as one-third more likely to make decisions about parole.
The first two amendments are already working since March 16. Temporarily on the freedom of released prisoners from low risk group – the Ministry does not specify any criteria by which selected prisoners, nor their number. Irish media say about two hundred released.
For those who are temporarily released, simplified administrative procedures before they had to report to prison once a week and now once a month. While violations of the prisoners will lead to early return to jail. In addition, in the event of a serious outbreak of coronavirus in the colonies of them temporarily freed all who were sitting less than six months.
On 23 March on the website of state news Agency of Sudan SUDA reported the first pardon of a group of 4 217 prisoners from the prison of al-Huda, located in the second largest city of Omdurman. The next day, the Sudanese Ministry of health announced that all released prisoners have been screened for the presence of coronavirus. The cause of liberation are called measures to fight the spread of the epidemic. What categories of prisoners were released, SUDA did not specify. As of 2017, there were about 21 thousand prisoners.
The Minister of justice of great Britain Robert Buckland March 25, admitted that COVID-19 is a big threat to overcrowded prisons. He said that the government is considering the release of the prisoners, but did not specify whom it may concern. Buckland said that “interested” in the scheme with a temporary liberation: in his opinion, such an approach will help to mitigate the situation.
Human rights activists from the Prisoners Advice Service appealed to the authorities to release those prisoners who are not dangerous to society because of his advanced age. According to them, it’s about 1 700 people aged 70 years, mostly men.
In parallel with the epidemic of the coronavirus, the British government is developing a plan that will expand the use of parole. According to him, sentenced to a period of less than four years can be released after serving half of the punishment under the obligations, including the wearing of an electronic bracelet and compliance with a curfew. It is not excluded that such steps are not associated with the pandemic virus, and overcrowding of prisons where nearly 84 thousand people.
The court of Jordan in mid-March, was released from prison about 1500 people, who were waiting for the start of the process on charges of assault on national security. Released and hundreds of prisoners awaiting courts in administrative matters. March 18, the government of Jordan for a month has postponed the announcement of the sentences for 3 081 men who had been convicted of debts amounting to 10 thousand Jordanian dinars. According to the authorities, the country contains about 20 thousand prisoners, a third of them have not been convicted. By March 25, the country had identified 153 cases of coronavirus.
The government of the Australian state of New South Wales conferred on the head of a local correctional fee authority parole release of prisoners in connection with the pandemic COVID-19. First release those whose terms are coming to an end, however, the law gives the opportunity to consider each case individually. Parole is not available for convicted of serious charges such as murder, terrorism or sexual offences. In addition, when making the decision should take into account its possible impact on public safety and victims of crime. Other States in Australia example New South Wales has not followed yet.
Iran because of the epidemic COVID-19 is temporarily released from the colonies 85 thousand people, half of them, according to authorities – those who were accused of crimes related to state security. According to “al-Jazeera”, many of them participants of the November anti-government protests. In addition to the political prisoners temporarily released those who were sentenced for a short time for non-violent crimes.
Later 10 thousand from the number released in General Amnesty of some political prisoners. Authorities have not formally linked the Amnesty to the epidemic, and timed it to the New year on the Iranian solar calendar begins in late March. Those who do not fall under the Amnesty, must return to prison by April 3.
In Ontario, about a thousand prisoners were released after it became known that the guard of the prison in Toronto was diagnosed with coronavirus, while the symptoms appeared some of the inmates in the neighboring province of Quebec.
The Ministry of justice of the province of Ontario has announced that detention will leave convicted for light offences not related to violence and use of weapons. In addition, the prison temporarily not to accept those prisoners who are eligible to serve your sentence in parts: first, they canceled the ability to do it on weekdays, and then delayed the punishment. With the hearings for minor offences, like traffic violations, temporarily shelved completely. Lawyers from the province of Alberta also appealed to the Ministry of justice with a request to consider the possibility of early release of prisoners in connection with the threat of their infection. As of 2018 in Canada was about 40 thousand prisoners, over one third of them were just waiting for the court.
As for Russia, human rights activists point out that about half of the inhabitants of the Russian SIZOs and colonies affected by HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis: if coronavirus penetrate in prison, we can talk about the incident with many deaths. The Russian prisoners have experienced and continue to experience difficulty obtaining medical care in pre-trial detention centre and colonies. People with severe HIV and TB do not let go at will, and prisoners are not enough, not only medicines, but ordinary soap, but the Federal penitentiary service, which is responsible for prison medicine, does not pay it all no attention.