13 January. The government announced that there are now 12 quarantine centres (centros de aislamiento sanitarios): 10 in Buenos Aires province, one in Santa Fe province and one in Córdoba. It plans to have a total of 31 centres (786 beds) built in various facilities throughout the country, in order to improve the healthcare infrastructure and access to care.
17 January. Virtual visits remained suspended at Dodds prison, according to the Minister of Home Affairs. He stated that “all non-essential services in the prison have been cut out entirely”, because of a staff shortage, and that he was not “prepared to sacrifice the security of the prison just to accommodate what is not an essential service”. However, inmates were still allowed to call their families.
5 Janvier. Virtual visits were suspended at Island’s Dodds prison as a result of several guards being infected and having to quarantine. The prison lacked the staff to conduct these visits safely.
21 January. The virus continued to spread in Dodds prison: 258 inmates and 99 staff members tested positive.
5 Janvier. Officials announced that 49 staff members and 121 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 at Island’s Dodds prison. The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) wanted to determine if the new strain of the virus was present among the newly identified cases.
25 January. The Pastoral Carcerária NGO published a report on the human rights violations in prisons between March and October 2020. The organisation reported it had received 90 complaints about violations and torture. This represents an increase of 63% in the number of complaints received compared to the same period in 2019, in spite of the communication difficulties between outside organisations and inmates. In particular, inmates denounced the shortage of food and toiletries and poor access to medical care, as well as humiliating and degrading conditions. Many reported inadequate quarantine measures: inmates with COVID-19 symptoms and tuberculosis were kept together with other inmates.
January. Human Rights Watch stated that between March and September 2020 approximately 53,700 prisoners were placed under house arrest in order to reduce the spread of the virus. This represents less than 7% of the country’s prison population.
6 January. Visits have been [suspended](https://g1.globo.com/to/tocantins/noticia/2021/01/06/visitas-na-cpp-de-palmas-voltam- a-ser-suspensas-apos-novo-caso-de-coronavirus-em-detento.ghtml) again, at least until 20 January, at Palmas prison, in Tocantins. The decision was made after confirming a new case of COVID-19 among the prisoners. The suspension could be reviewed after assessment by the authorities. They mentioned that prisoners can still benefit from calls and videoconferences. A lawyer criticised the decision and reported difficulties communicating with her client, highlighting the importance of face-to-face meetings when preparing defence. In 2020, visits in the state of Tocantins were suspended between March and November.
20 January. The number of inmates who tested positive increased to 57,454 (43,799 inmates and 13,655 prison staff). The number of deaths grew by 4.5% compared to December. A total of 229 people died from COVID-19 (130 inmates and 99 staff members).
3 February. The connection between high infection rates and prison design was analysed in a report. Medium-security facilities (98% of infections) and women’s multi-security level penitentiaries seem to be the most at risk.
6 January. Some 600 older and/or vulnerable prisoners in federal prisons are about to be vaccinated. This policy was criticised by Conservatives. According to the Minister of Public Safety, Bill Blair, there are some “individuals detained within our federal institutions who have pre-existing health conditions, and are therefore more at risk to COVID-19, very similar to those elderly individuals living in long-term care facilities”. Blair called on everyone to take responsibility.
3 January. In Saskatchewan, the lack of movement and activities is weighing heavily on the mental health of inmates. A family member said the only thing the prison is doing to curb the pandemic is restricting movement.
3 February. In a policy brief, the Royal Society shared its main requests: to promote release measures, introduce COVID-19 rapid testing, reduce the use of remand, etc. These recommendations were classified by establishment and population types.
11 January. Researchers and human rights activists called for more stringent measures to be put in place to protect inmates. Some inmates do not have enough masks and sanitisers.
Researchers and human rights activists called for more stringent measures to be put in place to protect inmates. Some inmates do not have enough masks and sanitisers.
6 January. Prison guards have asked for priority access to vaccinations.
3 February. Provincial and state prisons reported 5,000 cases at the end of January. Of these, over 1,000 were officers.
28 January. In Quebec, 14 officers and four prisoners tested positive at Bordeaux prison. A test was administered to all inmates. One of the establishment’s wings was quarantined for 14 days.
11 January. Researchers were alarmed at the number of positive cases detected during the last few weeks. More than 1,962 cases were identified since the beginning of December 2020. This number is greater than that recorded during the first nine months of the pandemic.
28 January. Prison officials (Gendarmería de Chile) report regularly on data concerning COVID-19 cases in the country’s prisons. A total of 2,611 inmates and 1,971 staff members tested positive. Twenty-one deaths were reported: (18 inmates and 3 staff members).
24 January. Prison officials reported that the occupation rate fell from 154.9% to 120.2% in the last few months.
12 January. The Minister of Justice [announced](https://www.infobae.com/america/colombia/2021/01/12/mas-de-500-detenidos-en-uri-seran- trasladados-a-carceles-en-bogota /) that 576 suspects placed in the police stations of** Bogotá ** will be transferred to prisons. The ministry’s goal is to reduce overcrowding in the capital’s police quarters by around 21%. Authorities confirmed that transfers will be carried out in accordance with health protocols and prisoners will be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.
9 January. The prison administration [suspended](https://www.asuntoslegales.com.co/actualidad/visitas-en-las-carceles-de-colombia-estan-suspendidas-hasta-el-21 -de-enero-por-bioseguridad-3109772) visits and temporary leaves of 72-hours until 21 January, due to the increase of positive cases in the country’s prisons.
2 February. At least 73 people, among the inmates and staff, from San Gil prison (Santander) tested positive. The new cluster was identified after transferring 15 prisoners from police premises to this facility. This prison, which house around 360 prisoners, was placed in lockdown.
26 January. Prison officials reported a total of 21,448 COVID-19 positive inmates since the pandemic started.
About 74% of inmates at Pácora prison tested positive for COVID-19. Officials said that people who are infected are quarantined and most of them are asymptomatic. The head of the facility said he encouraged inmates to wear masks and to wash their hands frequently.
2 January. Contagion increased in Modelo prison in Cúcuta. The prison administration confirmed that around 50 inmates tested positive. One staff member died from COVID-19 and six were infected. The prisoner’s families mentioned that they have not been updated regarding their relatives’ health conditions.
21 January. Guatao prison, the largest women’s prison in the country, was in lockdown because of the increase in the number of COVID cases inside the prison system. This was the second prison in Cuba to implement this measure since the pandemic started.
16 February. In North Carolina, more than six thousand first doses of the vaccine have been distributed to prisoners and prison staff since January 20. Health professionals and prison officers, who have been more severely affected by the pandemic, have already been vaccinated. From the total number of doses that were distributed, 200 were unusable or unused.
14 February. The families of several prisoners who died from COVID-19 in Halawa (Hawaii) [denounced](https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2021/ 02/15 / relative-halawa-inmates-who-died-covid-criticize-prison-officials /) the sanitary conditions in prison that “sentenced them to death”. They pointed out the lack of investment by the prison administration to protect prisoners.
8 February. In Louisiana, 390 to 400 vulnerable inmates receivedtheir first vaccination. The prison administration encouraged all the prisoners to be vaccinated by depositing $5 in their personal accounts.
20 January. About ten prisoners who [tested positive](https://www.oregonlive.com/coronavirus/2021/02/santiam-prison-inmates-say-administrators-knowingly-housed-them-with- covid-positive-patients.html) in Santiam Prison (Oregon) were not immediately quarantined after their screening results. They were sent back to shared dormitories with their uninfected co-detainees. Their placement in isolation was not scheduled until the next day. Prisoners denounced the indifference of the prison administration to their protests.
14 January. In California, vaccinations began in medical centres equipped to handle inmates (Chowchilla, the Health Care Facility in Stockton and the Medical Facility in Vacaville. The most affected prisons have not yet been addressed: San Quentin (2,600 cases, 28 deaths), Avenal State Prison (3,500 cases) and the California Institution for Men. This approach is being criticised.
2 January. In Colorado, vaccinating inmates is causing controversy. State leaders cannot agree whether to prioritise them for vaccination. According to Washington Post, this episode shows how a system to manage the pandemic can clash with other values, in a “nation that incarcerates more people than does any other”. According to Prison Policy Initiative, a dozen states do not believe that inmate status makes them a de facto priority and are basing vaccination on an individual’s health status. The states of New Jersey and Washington began vaccinating inmates. Others are considering it and are prioritising healthcare staff and healthcare facility residents above inmates. This is the case for the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.
1 January. Prisons with “uncontrollable” outbreaks of the virus are immediately closed and inmates are transferred. This is happening in local jails and the state prisons of Missouri, Pennsylvania and California. Officials believe that while many staff members are absent due to illness, the only way to guarantee public safety is to carry out emergency closures. Some observers are concerned about the overcrowding of inmates in the facilities to which they are transferred.
5 February. A poll indicated that the early release of prisoners was not a dividing factor for the country. Two-thirds of the voters believed that less imprisonment should be encouraged. The supporters of the Republican Party, although less favourable to liberation measures, encouraged the release of certain types of prisoners.
14 January. An advocate for prison reform in the United States and Great Britain said that “whatever your politics are, it’s just science here. If you don’t vaccinate inside prisons, you’re never going to stop outbreaks outside of prison.”
6 January. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) criticised the Bureau of Prisons for its indifference to the coronavirus outbreak at Waseca prison (Minnesota). The ACLU accused the Bureau of ignoring the warnings by consistently sending more people to prison. Inmates had been transferred from Oklahoma prison, despite the particularly high infection rate in this prison. Officials denied these accusations. They indicated that measures were taken “responsibly and appropriately”. The ACLU cited examples to the contrary, especially protocols that were not respected.
14 February. At Halawa prison (Hawaii), five prisoners [died](https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2021/02/15/relatives-halawa -inmates-who-died-covid-criticize-prison-officials /) of COVID-19 over the past month.
12 February. Saint Albans prison (Vermont) [recorded](https://vtdigger.org/2021/02/12/13-inmates-and-3-staff -test-positive-at-st-albans-prison /) 13 infected prisoners and three staff members in the last few days.
28 January. In Mississippi, authorities celebrated a particularly low infection rate of 9%. However, this could have been due to fewer tests being carried out, less than 20% of the prison population having been tested. * East Mississippi Correctional * prison, for example, only tested 83 out of 1,200 people. The authorities, who had previously not commented on the number of deaths, have now advised that more than 20 prisoners have died of COVID-19.
20 January. In Oregon, 50 people being held in Santiam prison [tested](https://www.oregonlive.com/coronavirus/2021/02/santiam -prison-inmates-say-administrators-knowingly-housed-them-with-covid-positive-patients.html) positive.
16 January. In Oregon, a 32 year-old inmate died from COVID-19 at Marion prison. At least five inmates have died in the state since the beginning of the year.
6 January. In New York state, one inmate died from COVID-19. He had been in a state-run prison in Oneida county, which had 35 other reported cases. Among the 52 state-run prisons, 43 reported having cases: Woodbourne (69) ; Governor (61) ; Mohawk/Walsh RMU (59) ; Coxsackie (59), to name a few.
In Washington state, 218 inmates at Larch prison tested positive.
12 January. The Ministry of Justice announced the lockdown of three correctional facilities (Villatica, Serafina Dávalos and Casa del Bun Pastor) due to the identification of clusters.
11 January. Authorities reported a total of 841 infected prisoners since the beginning of the pandemic.