Prisons are key settings for communicable diseases due to higher prevalence of risk factors for infection and actual infection, as well as environmental factors in prison such as unavoidable close contact, over-crowding, poor ventilation and limited access to healthcare services, compared to community settings.

Infections can be transmitted between prisoners, staff and visitors; between prisons through transfers and staff cross-deployment; and to and from the community. As such, prisons and other custodial settings are an integral part of the public health response to COVID-19.

Please find here links to guidance on managing COVID-19 in prisons and places of detention from various countries and organisations. If you have anything you would like to share on this page, please email

Please note that unfortunately we do not have a translation service for attached documents or links. Also, we remind you to check national and WHO websites for the most up to date information as the response to COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation. Attached documents are under the useful resources section in the right bar.


France: attached document

Public Health England:

Italy: attached documents

Lancet Public Health - commentary piece on why prisons need to be part of a COVID-19 response

Penal Reform International - Coronavirus: Healthcare and the human rights of people in prison 


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