Within detention facilities COVID-19 prevention and control measures alone may prove insufficient due to several factors :
1. Many prison systems are plagued by overcrowding and other systemic challenges;
2. Public health prevention and control measures within detention facilities may increase children’s vulnerability, including gender-based violence, since that detention facilities are far from children’s families, homes and communities and regular communication is often limited;
3. Staff illness can lead to staff reduction below acceptable levels for care and protection of children deprived of their liberty, potentially exacerbating children’s vulnerability due to lack of supervision and care, including their vulnerability to violence, abuse, and neglect;
4. The number of children deprived of liberty or those unable to be released in spite of amnesties or general release orders could increase due to closures of courts, suspension of criminal trials or administrative hearings, restrictions on freedom of movement, limiting access to lawyers or families.
Therefore, evidence-based COVID-19 prevention and control measures in detention facilities for children are urgently needed and should be implemented in full compliance with human rights and international standards and norms in justice for children and child protection.