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Home > Have prisons learnt from Covid-19? How the world has reacted to the pandemic behind bars.

Antigone. (2021) Have prisons learnt from Covid-19? How the world has reacted to the pandemic behind bars. Rome: Antigone .


At the beginning of 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic began to threaten penitentiary systems around the world, bringing another aspect of the challenge posed by this global emergency under the spotlight. Prisons suddenly became a problem and many governments from all over the planet had to take specific measures to contain health disasters that could also dramatically affect the outside community. This issue of the journal «Antigone» focuses precisely on this epochal challenge that will certainly stay in the memory of all of us for along time.

The first part of this publication aims to provide an overview of the world situation and collects articles on many different countries. Most of them start with some hints at the situation of prisons on the eve of this pandemic. Overcrowding was, and remains, a common feature of several national prison systems, making social distancing in prison virtually impossible. Prisons are also often reported to be poorly ventilated and unhygienic, and it is not by chance that prisoners, if compared to the general population, present heightened and unique vulnerabilities, higher prevalence of pre-existing health conditions, problematic drug use and mental health problems. In particular, everywhere in the world prisoners present a very high prevalence of infectious diseases, such as Hiv, tuberculosis or hepatitis C. Infectious diseases in prison have always been a major threat, and also because of this the challenge posed by Covid-19was, and is, a frightening one. The articles appearing in the first part describe the reactions to the pandemic by the prison community. A common feature of this reaction was the immediate concern expressed by significant sectors of civil society. Not only Ngos but also academia, workers?unions and representatives of the judicial and forensic professions in many countries immediately launched a cry of alarm and called for immediate measures to combat overcrowding and contagions. The second part of the publication collects essays that propose reflections on specific issues concerning the relationship between prison and the pandemic.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Book
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Crime prevention
279 p.
Corporate Creators
Place of Publication
Anno XV. n.1
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