Alert 200,000 inmates spread by coronavirus

In the country’s prisons, where 200 thousand 936 people are held, there is a danger of massive infections of the new coronavirus, civil society organizations warned.

The main risk is that in six out of 10 prisons the conditions to comply with the hygiene and healthy distance measures that the federal government has demanded to prevent the spread of Covid-19 they are “deficient”.

The 2019 National Prison Supervision Diagnosis, prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), specifies that in 63% of the federal and state detention centers the material, equipment and hygiene conditions of the dormitories are deficient.

In addition, the text indicates that in 32.79% of prisons there is a deficiency in health services, while 33% are overcrowded and 32% are overcrowded.

Also read: Prisons in Times of Coronavirus

According to the National Survey of the Population Deprived of Liberty (ENPOL), from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi), 45.6% of those interviewed shared their cell with more than five people and 12.5%, the bed.

Also 30% reported not having potable water inside their cells and around 5% lacked drainage.

The Ministry of Health (Ssa) calculates that daily in federal prisons between 3 thousand and 3 thousand 500 people enter, including lawyers, employees and suppliers. Of these, approximately 400 are family visits by people deprived of their liberty; however, in state and municipal prisons there is no calculation.

“For now there are no confirmed cases within the detention centers, but once the virus enters, the contagion will be massive. There is no way to control with a large population, isolation zones they do not exist.

“They are not taking the outbreak seriously. In other countries where the Covid-19 is more advanced, it has arrived [a los penales], because it is very easy for it to enter ”, warned in an interview with EL UNIVERSAL María Sirvent Bravo, founder and institutional coordinator of Documenta.

Hazard factors

Organizations like Reinsert, Documenta and Rights Without Barriers They explained that the main risk factors for people in detention, their families and prison staff are the lack of information, as well as medical facilities, insufficient health services, as well as the shortage of supplies and basic hygiene services, and their visits were canceled.

“Measures [de contingencia de la SSA] they seem viable for the vast majority of people, but they turn out to be complex to implement in the detention centers of our country.

“The authorities of the three levels of government must consider the prison system in their emergency plans, allocating the necessary human and material resources to deal with such a delicate situation,” said the Reinserta association.

For its part, Rights Without Barriers indicated: “People deprived of liberty suffer from a prison system in crisis that is not prepared to face the new coronavirus.

Also read: Suspended visits to Cuautitlán prison for suspected cases of Covid-19

“They have a system characterized by various situations that violate their human rights, such as overcrowding, corruption, ungovernability, lack of water, supplies and basic hygiene services, which puts them even more at risk in the face of the pandemic.”

“Protocol, lacking”

The federal government issued a protocol of action for the attention of Covid-19 inside the federal centers of social reintegration, which contemplates 17 thousand 58 people deprived of their liberty in 18 of those spaces; however, this population represents only 8.4% of the total number of inmates in the country.

The seven-page document proposes to develop a “wide dissemination campaign” on the disease in prisons, with the aim of promoting prevention and hygiene measures and limiting or restricting visits in a preventive stage.

In an emergency, it is proposed to isolate the infected people or transfer them to a nearby hospital if their condition worsens.

The problem with this protocol, civil organizations considered, is that it does not cover the entire national prison system, it only considers federal detention centers, which are the ones with the least overcrowding and the most hygiene conditions, while state and Municipal, where the vulnerability of the inmates is highest, are not taken into account.

Nor did they foresee, they assured, that the relatives are the ones who provide the inmates with supplies for daily life — personal hygiene items, money and even food — nor the limitations regarding health and hygiene services; for example, that there is not enough space to distance people with the infection.

Saskia Niño de Rivera, director of the Reinserta Foundation, explained that despite these efforts, there are three factors that work against the prison system: ungovernability, overcrowding and the lack of access to health for those who are in those spaces.

“The first characteristic generates corruption dynamics that are difficult to curb: you do not have control of people deprived of liberty, which is why any mechanism that does not seem to them is difficult for you to implement, you need their will.

Also read: Due to coronaviruses, they use video calls to link inmates with their families in Sonora

“In addition, there is overcrowding and overcrowding in prisons, which does not allow you to implement a healthy distance if in a cell where four people must sleep you have 30,” he explained.

For many years, he said, access to health has been very difficult, the conditions in which they live unfortunately make them more vulnerable and prone to complications from the condition.

Actions to avoid outbreak

Activities to prevent contagion have been promoted in some detention centers.

For example, in Quintana Roo the days of the visit were reduced and the aim is to detect symptoms when entering the centers; In the State of Mexico, attempts were made to establish sanitary fences, but due to the volume of the population, it is considering suspending the visit.

While in Nuevo León, masks, latex gloves and antibacterial gel have been arranged for personnel who are in customs and gates.

In this state, cleaning and disinfection work was also carried out in family visit areas, private rooms, call centers, as well as in transit areas, and inmates were announced for symptoms. In the Federal Centers the visit was suspended until April 20.


Italy starts manufacturing masks for prisoners from three jails

The Italian Ministry of Justice has announced this Saturday that prisoners in three prisons inRome, Milan and SalernoThey will begin, in the middle of this month, to manufacture surgical masks to cover the deficit of this essential element of protection for the health workers who care for patients with coronavirus.

Prisoners will work on eight machines trained to manufacture up to 400,000 face masks daily. The first remittances will be distributed among the prison population and security guards, especially vulnerable to thecontagion.

Once that phase was over, the “considerablesurplus masksresulting from the operations “will be distributed among Italian hospitals.

At the beginning of last month, at the beginning ofhardest momentsAfter the crisis, Italian prisons became the scene of escapes and riots due to the inability of the authorities to guarantee the safety of neither prisoners nor guards.

The Minister of Justice,Alfonso Bonafede,confirmed that a total of 6,000 prisoners participated in riots or assaults of some kind, a dozen inmates died of overdoses and 12 carried out escape attempts. A total of 40 prison guards were injured.


At least 1,350 prisoners escape from three jails in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo

At least 1,350 prisoners escaped on Monday from three prisons in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, the country’s most populous, after a series of riots motivated by restrictions on visits and temporary exits due to the fight against the coronavirus, authorities reported.

The Militarized Police (PM) of Sao Paulo indicated that at least 400 detainees fled from Mongaguá, on the state coast; another 926, which were mostly in a semi-open regime, in Mirandópolis, interior of the state, and another 30 from Taubaté, in the region known as Vale do Paraíba. According to the information, riots are reported in these and other prison centers with a number of hostages not yet reported.

The rebellions were motivated by restrictions on the temporary visits and exits of prisoners taken as part of measures to control the spread of the coronavirus.

The São Paulo Public Security Secretariat has refrained from reporting the exact number of prisoners who escaped, but confirmed in a statement that “acts of insubordination are taking place in Mongaguá, Tremembé and Porto Feliz, in addition to the semi-open pavilion in Mirandópolis” .

The regional body indicated that the reason for the riots was “the suspension of the temporary departure that was scheduled for Tuesday.” “Both the Rapid Intervention Group (GIR) and the Militarized Police were activated and are at the forefront of the situation” to recapture the escaped prisoners, the sources said.

The riots were motivated by the measures to control the spread of COVID-19 ruled by the Sao Paulo judicial bodies, which decided that the temporary departure of prisoners with the right to the semi-open regime should be “rescheduled by the corrections judges of the presidios” .

“The measure was necessary because it would benefit more than 34,000 convicts of the semi-open regime, who, returning to prisons, would increase the potential to contaminate and spread the coronavirus in a vulnerable population, generating health risks for public servants and those in custody”, stressed the statement.

In the prisons where the escapes were recorded, dozens of prisoners are still in riot. Local media outlets have reported explosions and released images of detainees with covered faces burning mattresses.

Authorities did not report whether there are hostages in the riots.