Rights under Lockdown: Not Releasing Vulnerable Prisoners in the Time of a Pandemic is a Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Document Type


Publication Date



This argues that the non-release of vulnerable prisoners in this time of a pandemic constitutes a cruel; inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment; a grave violation of the Torture Convention in international law. With the quick and far-reaching spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19; prisoners are among the most vulnerable people in the world. Prisoners face the real danger of COVID-19 while being held in environments that make basic health measures of personal protection and distancing impossible. While the situations of prisons; jails; and other detention centers in each country differs; there could be instances when the danger of being afflicted with the disease is grave and imminent in all carceral States.