Opening the door for change: COVID-19 and prisoner release schemes

Bridging voices, inspiring hope: this episode is the first in a series looking at the impact of COVID-19 on places of detention – for people deprived of liberty and their relatives, the staff who work there and the monitoring teams who carry out visits. 

At the start of the pandemic, governments recognised that closed facilities like prisons had the potential to be ‘super spreaders’ of the virus among detainees and staff.  

So in March 2020, governments around the world began to release prisoners, the vast majority of whom were non-violent offenders. The key driver was the need to protect the health and safety of detainees and staff.  

But there is another, very important benefit that flows from this. We know overcrowding increases the risks of ill-treatment in places of detention. When you reduce prison populations, you also begin to reduce these risks.

This episode features Nicolas PatrickPro Bono and Responsible Business Partner at DLA Piper, who discusses the findings from a global study of prisoner release programmes conducted by DLA Piper. The study  was supported by the APT. 

We also speak with Dian Septiari, journalist with the Jakarta Post, who has reported on how prisoner release schemes have operated in Indonesia.