1 July. The Health Minister has announced that prisoners and prison staff in the prisons of Western Australia would receive the Pfizer vaccine in the coming weeks.
11 June. Supply shortages have slowed down the vaccination campaign for prisoners and prison staff. This contradicts the COVID-19 Response Minister’s announcement that there would be no slowdown.
4 March. Prisoners arriving from Victoria will be subject to a mandatory quarantine until April 2022. The extension of this measure, in place since the beginning of the pandemic, will be voted on in a fortnight. There has been no known contamination among prisoners since the arrival of the virus in the country.
Human rights defenders denounced the solitary confinement that prisoners are facing: reportedly, more than 22 hours a day in their cells with no human contact. The Human Rights Law Center denounced this decision: “Protective quarantine is a solitary confinement, which we know, is an inhuman and degrading practice … and causes long-term effects […] A more proportionate response would involve looking at the COVID-19 risk and doing an individual assessment of everyone entering the prisons and what their risk for COVID-19 is”.
3 February. The number of juveniles incarcerated in New South Wales decreased by 32%, according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR). They counted 270 young people in December 2019, compared to 184 in 2020. The decrease in the number of juveniles incarcerated resulted from the preventive measures taken against the spread of the virus in the country’s prisons. BOSCAR reported that more people were currently awaiting their trial in the community and fewer people were sentenced with court cases deferred.
3 February. The number of prisoners in the country equals the number recorded in 2016. This number fell by 6% between December 2019 and December 2020. The female prison population fell by 12% during the same period.
30 June. The prison service has banned personal visits in all Queensland prisons until further notice.
2 June. A prison in Melbourne has been placed in lockdown. At issue was the visit by a staff member to an infection hot spot. Hundreds of prisoners have been restricted to their cells and visits have been suspended. No cases of infection have been confirmed.
2 June A Victoria State prison was placed under lockdown after one of its staff workers visited “one of highest risk exposure sites”. Visits were suspended until further notice and prisoners were restricted to their cells. Activities have been suspended. For the time being, there are no COVID-19 cases in the Victoria State prisons.
1 July. Prisoners and prison staff in the prisons of New South Wales are increasingly rejecting the AstraZeneca vaccine out of fear of rare side effects.
30 March. Lawyers denounced the mandatory quarantining of new arrivals in Victoria. This is not done on the grounds of any concrete health advice and is negatively impacting prisoners’ mental health. A member of the legal authority insisted that “the government should immediately commence conducting transparent, regular and rigorous assessment of the use of protective quarantine”.
3 January. Inmates at Waikeria Prison [surrendered](https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/433969/waikeria-prison-protesters-surrender-to -authorities), after six days of confrontation.
1 January. The riot [continued](https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/433919/waikeria-prison-stand-off-we-are-protesting-for-a -cause) at Waikeria prison. No negotiations have succeeded as yet. The prisoners were deprived of drinking water until their surrender. One of them said “We will sit here for as long as it takes […] Inside or outside the gate, we are all human and we want to be treated like that”.
3 January. Amnesty International called for the authorities to adopt a de-escalation strategy. The Waikeria prison riot continued for six days. The authorities continued to deprive the protesters of food and water. The prisoners denounced the inhumane and degrading detention conditions.