Prison Administration: Action Plan to Continue the Fight Against Coronavirus Spread in Prisons Till the End of August

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The general Delegation for prison administration and reintegration (DGAPR) has drawn up an action plan to continue to combat the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in prisons until the end of August.

In a report on the assessment of the measures taken to combat the spread of Covid-19 in detention centers and the action plan drawn up to continue this fight until the end of August 2020, the DGAPR stated that this plan is based on a set of principles, the most important of which is the appropriateness of government measures relying on the principle of progression and objectivity in evaluating the epidemiological situation in the cities and regions where prisons are located.

This action plan is also based on the adequacy of the general situation in prisons, particularly in terms of security and health, and the adoption of procedures specific to correctional facilities that register cases of infection with the virus.

As regards the procedures relating to officials, the general Delegation stressed that the lifting of the quarantine for prison officials would be done with flexibility and prudence, taking into account the evolution of the epidemiological situation in jails and in the different regions of the Kingdom.

Concerning procedures for detainees, the DGAPR’s action plan includes submitting newcomers to medical examinations to ensure that they do not present any symptoms of virus infection, paying particular attention to vulnerable groups among detainees (the sick, the elderly, women, children and minors) in this circumstance and ensuring that they do not contact any infected cases. It also involves controlling the movement of inmates within the facility and prohibiting movement between rooms and wards.

With regard to upgrading activities and programs, cultural, artistic and sports programs will be resumed at the local level in accordance with the preventive measures in force. This resumption will initially include religious, cultural, artistic and creative activities, as well as psychological counselling and support, craft programs, notably the continued production of masks in prisons as the DGAPR’s contribution to national efforts to prevent and reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Furthermore, the conditions for paying visits will be met through the preparation of the dedicated areas (disinfection, floor-marking stickers for visitors outside and inside the establishment) and the adoption of preventive measures in the visiting room, including sterilisation and safety distance, in addition to the installation of plastic barriers between visitors-prisoners and the compulsory wearing of masks.

It is also a matter of determining the number of detainees to be visited according to a prior schedule that allows them to notify their families in order to avoid overcrowding, limiting the number of visitors for each detainee to one, and prohibiting visits by coronavirus-infected detainees or inmates subject to medical isolation.

The DGAPR indicated that the family visit will gradually resume from next July, in the light of the evolution of the epidemiological situation in the country, with the frequency of one visit per month on the horizon to allow a single visit every 15 days.

With regard to the gradual return of certain activities in relation to other sectors and partners, the DGAPR has extended the application of remote judicial procedures in coordination with the judicial authorities until 27 June.

The prison administration noted that the precautionary measures and actions taken at various levels have, given the constraints of the current context, led to very positive results in dealing with the epidemic (Covid-19), with very low rates of infection in detention centers, where the number of infected inmates has reached 340, representing 0.4 per cent of the total prison population, while 110 officials have been infected, i.e. 0.95 per cent of all staff in the sector.

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