Report on the Covid-19 Situation in Prisons and Policy Recommendations for Thailand
The Covid-19 pandemic has created a complex challenge for prison systems around the world. In overcrowded and under-resourced prisons, concern over the virus continues to rise as a result of inadequate sanitation and insufficient access to healthcare including medicines, equipment and staff. As this pandemic spreads, congestion inside prisons and limited healthcare options can have catastrophic consequences for the people inside. Moreover, the situation inside has the potential to severely affect the community outside as well.
Recognizing the challenge ahead, on 31 March 2020, TIJ launched the ‘Report on the Covid-19 Situation in Prisons and Policy Recommendations for Thailand’ to present an overview of existing challenges in prisons around the world and highlight policy recommendations for Thai stakeholders to tackle the crisis.
Key recommendations include reducing overcrowding by implementing alternatives to imprisonment at the pre-sentencing and sentencing stage, using parole, temporary release and early release for vulnerable groups of prisoners (such as the elderly, pregnant women and prisoners with underlying health issues) and those with non-violent, minor offences who do not pose any harm to society. This report also provides several practical recommendations for effective prison management during the crisis.