April 28, 2020
Prison lockdown dragging on
As people start back to work with the drop to COVID-19 alert level 3, prisoners remain locked in their cells for up to 23 hours a day.
Prison reform group JustSpeak says Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis seems blind to the mental health impact of that not just to prisoners but to their families.
Director Tania Sawicki Mead says while the initial justification for keeping prisons coronavirus free was sound, as the weeks drag on it is becoming harder to justify.
“You cannot keep people locked in their cells 23 hours a day, denying them visits from their whānau, cancel all the programmes used to justify keeping people in prison, including drug and alcohol rehabilitation or anti-violence programmes, and not expect to have serious consequences,” she says.
Tania Sawicki Mead says to reduce risk in their prisons other countries are releasing prisoners with shorter sentences for non-violent crime, or who are immuno-compromised.
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