The Covid-19 emergency includes exceptional authoritarian measures taken by our governments, restricting fundamental rights like freedom of movement and freedom of association and the right to work, justified by the common goal to “flatten the curve” and thus slow down the spread of the virus. Since its start, many have made comparisons between this new situation to house arrest or imprisonment. While it is unrealistic to compare our temporary confinement to the condition of prisoners, it becomes clearer that social isolation and distancing are hard forms of punishment for a human being. Prisoners serve months or years denied of human touch and interaction and often also of educational and leisure activities. During the lockdown, restrictions on family visits resulted in riots and violence in some prisons (e.g. Italy). Touch and physical closeness are seen as dangerous practices for our health, yet these are crucial for the wellbeing of our souls and the growth of bonding within our communities.
Contributors (scroll down to know more!):
- Anna Matczak (Poland) – moderator
- Geertjan Zuijdwegt (Belgium) – on prisoners’ experiences of the crisis
- Sharon Daniel (USA) – new art project in prison during covid-19
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