On March 17, 2020, HALCO, the HIV Legal Network and Prisoners with HIV/AIDS Support Action Network (PASAN), called on Ontario and federal governments to take immediate action to protect the health of people in jail and detention centres.
We are particularly concerned about people in jail and detention centres who live with underlying health conditions, such as HIV and hepatitis C (HCV), that compromise their immunity and increase their risk of contracting COVID-19. We therefore call on governments to, among other actions, immediately:
- implement measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in jails and detention centres
- find alternatives to custody for those who are at high risk of infection and of experiencing serious complications in the event that they do become infected
- ensure sufficient medical services and resources are available
- establish testing protocols
- facilitate access to free phone calls and videoconferencing
The letter to Ontario’s Solicitor General can be found here.
The letter to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada can be found here.
A follow-up letter sent on April 13 to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada can be found here.