Responding to the COVID-19 outbreak is particularly challenging in the places of mass confinement, such as prisons, which makes prevention critical. While preventive measures will most likely result in significant disruptions to ordinary prison routines, both staff and prisoners need to be adequately instructed and equipped to take the necessary steps to keep COVID-19 out of prisons.
Developed by UN DPO (JCS/OROLSI) and UNITAR (Division for Peace), the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response in Places of Detention: Operational Toolbox (available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic) is intended to support prison administrators and staff in their efforts to prevent COVID-19 from entering the prison and mitigate the impact in case of an outbreak, while ensuring the safety, security and well-being of staff, prisoners, their families and the public. The package includes ready to use communication tools (available in Portuguese, Swahili, Somali, Serbian and Albanian in addition to the languages mentioned above) with clear and concise information and visuals.
Over the past months, the Toolbox and the related materials in various languages have been widely used in mission settings, including in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO).