A contract staff at Changi prison was recently tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the prison services also announced that all activities for its inmates will stop, this means that they will not be allowed yard time and visitors.
Jolovan Wham reminds us that prison cells are crammed and poorly ventilated. They may have committed crimes but this lockdown deprives them of basic human rights. With this added lockdown depriving the inmates of their yard time, what are they going to do in a confined cell? There are also no other measures in place to take care of the inmates’ mental health!
“Does this mean that thousands of inmates will be confined to their cells indefinitely for 24 hours a day?
A four person cell is only 3m by 3m in size, including the toilet. Inmates have no beds, mattresses or fans, and the only window which lets in a small amount of natural light is sealed up. What is being done to look into their mental wellbeing during this period?” – Jolovan Wham
Imagine spending 24 hours a day in a crammed cell, with no sight of when this “quarantine” will end. What’s more is that it is not even their fault that COVID got into the prisons! They didn’t even get out there to “contract” the virus! No matter the crime they did, even if they killed someone, they are already being punished.
At the end of the day, they still deserve to be treated as a human, with basic human rights. COVID is not their fault and they should not be punished for something that they didn’t do!