Locked up: Covid-19 and prisons in Europe

Illustration by Una Rebić/Pod črto

Life in carceral facilities has changed a lot since the COVID-19 outbreak took off. Yet little data has been made public about the spread of the coronavirus in carceral facilities. Data collected by 12 newsrooms in the European Data Journalism Network, coordinated by Deutsche Welle, shows that the effort to keep the infection under control in detention institutions came at a high cost.

Prisoners found themselves more isolated than ever: visits and education activities were suspended, vaccination campaigns were delayed, while overcrowding put the most vulnerable at risk.

The issue affects all society, because if you’re not protecting prisons, you’re not protecting the community.

More than half a million people were incarcerated in Europe in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prisons are an ideal breeding ground for viruses: overcrowded, with cramped living arrangements and often poor hygiene conditions. Moreover, many incarcerated people have multiple health risk factors.

EDJNet’s data unit has collected data from 32 European countries that show how many cases and deaths were reported in prisons, how vaccinations progressed and what measures were taken to curb the spread of the virus.

Available translations
Monday 06 December 2021
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