Prisoners’ rights in times of pandemic: an analysis to the extraordinary measures implemented in prisons in Italy, Portugal, and the UK

Thumbnail Image
Coutinho, Maria : do Carmo Pires de Lima da Cunha
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The COVID-19 pandemic is a threat of unprecedented proportions that has severely affected our societies worldwide. Governments are under pressure to respond wisely, and prisoners are particularly affected by the policies and effects of this public health crisis. This dissertation will contribute to a deeper reflection on how to manage the balance between prisoners’ rights and public health protection, by identifying and critically analysing the anti-COVID measures taken in the prison system, in Italy, Portugal and the UK. This research considered the official information provided by the national authorities, and the information published by the media. The measures restricting the prisoners’ rights and freedoms received particular attention. A content analysis was undertaken, and the measures identified as the most controversial were analysed by reference to the ECtHR case-law. The findings of this research indicate that Article 3 and Article 8 of the Convention were the ones most at risk regarding the anti-COVID measures. This work illustrates the need to remain vigilant in particular during emergency times. State interferences can occur, but it is fundamental to upheld human rights throughout the crisis, with particular attention to the most vulnerable, such as incarcerated people. Key words: COVID-19, prisons, Human Rights, ECtHR, prisoner’s rights; Italy, Portugal, UK, Health crisis
Second semester University: University of Tartu
prisons, emergency, public health, prison conditions, human rights, Italy, United Kingdom, Portugal, European Court of Human Rights, crisis management, COVID-19 pandemic