Covid-19 and the Global Fight Against Mass Incarceration

Publication date:
1:35:19 minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic has led governments to release an unprecedented number of people from prison and curb new admissions to prevent deadly outbreaks in prisons and other detention centres. The pandemic has exposed the societal costs of mass incarceration, while the quick actions taken by governments casts doubt on the necessity of imprisonment for those released.

This webinar  looks at the drivers of mass incarceration worldwide, sharing analysis on the impact of COVID-19, the negative impacts of imprisonment exposed by the pandemic, and the challenges and opportunities it provides for sustainable reform. It focuses particularly on the role of punitive drug policies in driving up prison numbers.

Activists and researchers from different regions will discuss and share strategies by civil society to reverse this long-standing trend of mass incarceration as a response to crime.


  • Olivia Rope, Director of Policy and International Advocacy, Penal Reform International
  •  Isabel Pereira, Coordinator of the Drug Policy area at Dejusticia, and member of Research Consortium on Drugs and the Law (CEDD).
  • Sabrina Mahtani from Advocaid Sierra Leone
  • Maidina Rahmawati, Institute of Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), Indonesia
  •  Andrea James, Founder and Exec Director, and Justine Moore, Director of Training, National Council For Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, USA

This webinar is co-sponsored by IDPC (International Drug Policy Consortium), WOLA (Washington office on Latin America) and Penal Reform International. 

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