WHO have launched a report exploring the extent to which places of detention are considered in national preparedness planning in the WHO European Region. A desktop review was conducted to identify: 

  1. National pandemic preparedness plans written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic; and 
  2. National pandemic preparedness and response plans specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Where prisons were included, all aspects of pandemic preparedness relating to prisons were extracted and collated as per the main domains of the WHO checklist for influenza pandemic preparedness plans. These findings were then supplemented with responses to the Health in Prisons European Database survey. The desktop review found that 30 Member States had pandemic plans accessible online, but only seven included any mention of prisons. 

There were 36 Member States that referenced a COVID-19 preparedness and/or response plan, but only six referred to prisons or the vulnerabilities of people living in places of detention. It seems fair to say that prisons are rarely considered in national planning and that lessons from previous pandemics have not led to a change in recognizing that prisons are high-risk environments for pathogen transmission and that failing to consider them in national planning may lead to impacts that affect the wider community (1).

To read the full report click here.


  1. Prisons and other places of detention in pandemic preparedness plans across the WHO European Region in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic


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