No health or access to justice for persons deprived of liberty during the pandemic in Venezuela

Carlos Lusverti* and Carolina Villadiego Burbano**

Versión en español aquí.

On 13 March 2020, the Venezuelan authorities declared a state of emergency to preserve and protect the public health and for mitigate and eradicate the risk related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A mandatory lockdown and the suspension of non-essential activities was ordered. The negative impact on persons deprived of liberty was enormous. There was suspension of visits from family members and lawyers into detention centers. In addition, the Supreme Court of Justice on 15th March ordered the closure of courts in most matters, except urgent criminal matters. 

Overcrowding and limitation of visits: prisons and detention facilities reality in the midst of COVID-19 

With no public information or statistics about persons deprived of liberty in Venezuela, the data of Venezuelan civil society organizations, such as those of the Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones (Venezuelan Prison’s Watch), stress that there is an estimated average of 171.83% overcrowding in prisons.

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