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The United Nations has stated that at least 700,000 prison inmates have been authorised for temporary release as a result of COVID-19 surge in some selected countries.


This was disclosed in a UN study titled ‘Prison population surge triggers overcrowding, COVID casualties’, published on Friday.


The study revealed that for nearly half of the countries with available data, most prisons inhabit more than its 100% capacity due to overcrowding.


In light of the COVID-19 spread, most of the countries have decided to decongest their prisons.


Part of the study read, “The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically shifted attention towards the issue of prison overcrowding.
“According to a global analysis of Government and open sources, as of last May, nearly 550,000 prisoners in 122 countries have become infected with COVID-19.


“And there have been close to 4,000 prison fatalities, stretching across 47 countries.
“In response to the pandemic, some prisons limited recreation time, work opportunities, and visitation rights – all essential components of rehabilitation programmes.


“With prevention measures often difficult to implement in detention centres, especially overcrowded ones, some countries opted to temporarily release large numbers of people in custody, particularly those convicted of non-violent offences.


“Since March, roughly six per cent of the estimated global prison population – which translates to at least 700,000 inmates – have been authorized or considered eligible for at least temporary release through COVID emergency mechanisms adopted by 119 Member States.”


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