Coronavirus Covid-19 and Justice Systems: summary of global resources

BRIEFING: What the Justice System Should Do in Response to Covid-19 (in 6 languages)

English: text / PDF

Français: text / PDF

Português: text / PDF

Español: text / PDF

Русский: текст / PDF

عربى: PDF / نص


International guidance on Covid-19, human rights, justice and prisons

Guidance on how to respond to Covid-19 in detention and in the community for governments from UN bodies, transnational organisations and major international medical NGOs

UNODC, WHO, UNAIDS and OHCHR joint statement on Covid-19 in prisons and other closed settings:



UNODC: (general) and (specific focus on children in detention)

UNICEF/Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action:


Council of Europe (Europe only):

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT):

Worldwide Prison Health Research & Engagement Network:


Universally applicable guidance & resources

Universally applicable policy tools for justice administrations and planners working on responding to Covid-19 in their jurisdiction

Expert Report: Covid-19 and prisons in England and Wales by Professor Richard Coker MB BS, MSc, MD, FRCP, FFPH commissioned by The Howard League for Penal Reform and Prison Reform Trust (England & Wales):

Policy Briefing: Reducing the Prison Population from the Jesuit Centre for faith and Justice:

Statement by Professor Andrew Coyle at teleconference on Covid-19 in prisons in Latin America:

Justice for All and the Public Health Emergency by Pathfinders:

The Expert Network on External Prison Oversight and Human Rights:

COVID-19: Why Are Prisons a Particular Risk, and What Can Be Done to Mitigate This? from Social Science for Humanitarian Action Platform:

Reducing Overcrowding in Pre-Trial Detention and Prison in the Context of COVID-19 from DignityDK:


Summaries of international activity

Some of the most comprehensive summaries of news, data and policy developments in justice systems with regard to Covid-19 around the world

Justice Project (Pakistan based):

World Prison Brief at ICPR (UK based):

Europe Prison Observatory (Europe only, Italy based):

International Corrections and Prisons Association (Belgium based):

Prison Insider (France based):

EuroPris: European Organisation of Prison and Correctional Services (Europe only, Netherlands based):

Las prisiones ante el COVID-19 (Spain based):

University of Helsinki (Finland based):

Global Access to Justice Project (Global):

Harm Reduction International (Global): (summary of prison population reduction schemes, promise vs reality)


International campaigns

Global NGOs campaign activity around human rights in the context of Covid-19 in places of detention

Human Rights Watch (with reference to Asia):

Amnesty International:

Medicins Sans Frontieres:

International Drug Policy Consortium (with reference to SE Asia):

Dignity – Dansk Institut Mod Tortur:

OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture:

A Call to Action from Former Ministers, Attorneys-General, and Senior Judges – Justice Leadership in a Pandemic:


Case studies of justice system responses to Covid-19

The purpose of this section is to illustrate the kinds of actions justice administrations have taken, rather than be any kind of exhaustive news summary

Selected examples of judicial leadership (sentencing changes / reduction of custodial remand / bail)


India (Maharashtra):

USA (Ohio):

USA (Tennessee):

Australia (Victoria):

Selected examples of early release / alternative community supervision

Northern Ireland:



Republic of Ireland:


USA (Pennsylvania):

USA (New York):

Selected examples of amnesties





National guidance & resources

The resources gathered here are from national organisations. It’ll be added to and expanded as time goes on. As it stands, most of these resources are based on principles which are applicable internationally.

Irish Penal Reform Trust (Ireland):

Contrôleur général des lieux de privation de liberté (France):

Howard League for Penal Reform (England & Wales): and (young adults in prison)

Nacro (England & Wales):

Prison Policy Initiative (USA):

The Marshall Project (USA):

The Justice Collaborative (USA):

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