2022 marks the start of important developments for WEPHREN. As we switch the focus from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be developing a new 3 year Action Plan which will guide the network’s key activities in the medium term. This does not mean that we will be leaving the pandemic behind - far from it - with a small proportion of the global population vaccinated, it is not over and is likely to continue to cause challenges in prisons across the world for some time to come. We will therefore continue to add to our COVID-19 resources page. However, there are many other pressing public health issues in prisons and other detained settings globally and we will develop an action plan that reflects the need for research and capacity development in these areas
As WEPHREN emerges from the pandemic with renewed vigour, we are very grateful that we have two new members in the international team of Health and Justice at UKHSA (the WEPHREN secretariat)
Alicia Roselló, International Public Health Specialist for UKHSA and Amanda Farrow, Project Support Manager also UKHSA.
WEPHREN Steering Group Meeting December 2021
The Steering group met on the 9th December after not having met for a year. It proved to be a productive meeting and the revised Terms of Reference were discussed as well as updating WEPHREN's aims and priorities.
Action Plan Brainstorming Sessions
We have now held two brainstorming sessions and we are grateful to all the members of the steering group that participated with such enthusiasm – we covered the Miro board with many valuable ideas! These are now being collated and will be prioritised for use in the WEPHREN action plan for the next 3 years
We are delighted to welcome Paula Harriott onto the WEPHREN Steering Committee. Paula is Head of Prisoner Engagement at the Prison Reform Trust, her main focus is to ensure organisations across the criminal justice sector are committed to the involvement of people with lived experience. Her passion for working with excluded members of the community stems from personal experiences in prison
RISE-Vac launched in May 2021
RISE-Vac (Reaching the hard to reach: Increasing access and vaccine uptake among prison population in Europe) is a European Commission funded project set in Italy, France, Germany, Moldova, Cyprus and the UK aiming to improve the health of prison population in Europe by promoting vaccine literacy, enhancing vaccine offer and increasing vaccine uptake. By upholding the principle that prison health is public health, the RISE-Vac project will provide tools and
data-driven, evidence-based options to guide European countries in improving health status of people in prison and European population at large. The pandemic has highlighted just how important vaccination is to control infectious diseases, especially in prisons, and so this is a very timely project with the potential to influence policy and practice in prisons globally - definitely one to keep an eye on!
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect our most vulnerable population, including those living in prison. Please visit our Covid-19 pages on the website where there will be updates on guidance, resources and webinars as well as ongoing research. Below we have picked out some of the latest information.
COVID-19 vaccinations for prison populations and staff: Report on global scan
Penal Reform International and Harm Reduction International conducted the first ever in-depth review of policies and practices related to COVID-19 vaccination in prisons across 177 countries, analysing how people detained and working in prisons are included in vaccination plans and roll-out.
This report highlights a critical lack of data collection and transparency on this aspect of the COVID-19 response. It finds that most countries failed to adequately plan for vaccination in prisons, which has led to piecemeal and often insufficient implementation, ultimately failing to protect and promote the right to health of both prison populations and prison staff.
COVID-19 Research Studies
We are looking to share information on research studies that have focused on prison (or other detained settings) and the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are or have been involved in such a study and are happy to spotlight your work and potentially act as a source of information/guidance for other researchers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘COVID Research’ in the subject line.
COPE (COVID-19 measures and prisoner self-harm: critical timetrends analysis informing policy to improve individual and institutional resilience) research project is a collaboration between the University of Manchester, Prison Reform Trust and the University of Southampton. It aims to determine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the resulting protection measures, on prisoner self-harm in prisons across England
Read more about the study at COPE • WEPHREN (tghn.org)