Responding to the coronavirus crisis

Friday, 27 March 2020

In a new comment piece, our director Richard Garside sets out some of the ways we plan to respond to the growing coronavirus crisis in prisons.

'If an institution was to be invented with the express intention of maximising the spread of coronavirus, and of concentrating it among those most likely to be vulnerable to it', Richard writes, 'that institution would probably look much like a prison.'

Richard's article covers some of the activities we will be pursuing in the next few months, including a new project assessing how coronavirus is affecting prisons across Europe.

Richard also argues that a fitting legacy of the current coronavirus crisis would be the long-term closure of much of the existing prison system and the development of better approaches to dealing with the problems our society faces. As Richard concludes:

The coronavirus crisis has shone a light on the wider, and pre-existing, malaise in prisons. A fundamental rethink of our use of prisons would be a small, but important, gain to have come from the current crisis we are in.