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With social distancing nearly impossible and facilities unable to provide adequate safeguards European Prisons may soon become Covid-19 hotspots. A number of outbreaks have occurred recently in UK and Irish prisons where some prisoners have been locked down in their cells for long periods putting staff and inmates at greater risk of contracting Covid.
As the novel coronavirus has spread throughout Europe a number of prisoners and prison staff have now tested positive for Covid-19. Legal claims seeking damages for negligent acquisition of covid-19 could soon be pursued by prisoners and prison staff.
Speaking about the potential for such damages claims, PEOPIL’s Liam Moloney, Co- Chair of PEOPILS International Covid litigation group said today ‘’prisons may soon become hotspots for Covid-19 infections where inmates and prison staff alike are unable to adequately social distance and therefore have little protection from the virus. Prisons must quickly identify and isolate infected individuals, increase facility cleanings and provide adequate numbers of masks to protect the prison population and staff.’’
Mr Moloney added ‘’prison authorities have a duty of care to ensure that the risks of transmission and spread of Covid-19 infection are minimised in their prisons. They must also screen and monitor the prison population for Covid-19 and adopt appropriate measures to protect the prison population from infection. Prison staff come in and out of prisons each day and prisoners are released daily so a prison outbreak could have community consequences”.
For further information - please contact PEOPIL Member of the Executive Board Mr Liam Moloney