Information provided by Paola Petrucco, Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Coalizione Italiana per le Libertà e i Diritti Civili, CILD)

 

1. How many people are currently detained in the center and what is the centre’s maximum capacity?

The Brindisi center can hold up to 48 men – there currently is no publicly available information on the number of occupied places. 

2. Are people still entering this detention centre? If so, what are the measures taken to prevent contagion and safeguard their right to health?

Although there is no precise data on the entries, it appears that a few people have been brought in all the centres during the epidemic. The circular note of the Minister of the Interior issued on 26 March 2020 specifies the precautionary measures to take in the event of new arrivals. These include a preliminary medical examination and, where possible, a 14-day isolation period. Although there is no specific information on the measures that have been taken in the Brindisi center, the National Guarantor has reported that most of the CPRs have set up quarantine wards for incomers and ensured a quarantine period of two weeks.

3. Have detainees been released from this centre due to COVID-19? If yes, which groups?

No precise information on the matter has been provided.

4. What information has been provided to detainees in this centre, in which language(s) and through what means?

As of 21 April, it seems that the CPR manager has provided detainees information on the current health emergency and the appropriate precautionary behaviour to take.

5. What healthcare measures have been taken in response to the virus? Has the number of health workers working inside the center increased?

According to the National Guarantor, almost all CPRs have improved their healthcare measures. Allegedly, they have established a thorough screening procedure and have set up medical isolation rooms. The exact number of health workers working inside the center and information on this specific center are not available. 

6. What hygiene measures have been taken in response to the virus?

On 21 April, the National Guarantor reported that “almost all the CPRs’ managers declared that they had regularly carried out disinfections to ensure the premises’ hygienic conditions. They all reported having increased the number of personal hygiene kits for all persons detained and making protective masks available to them at release. In addition, they have informed in multiple languages all detainees about the health emergency and instructed hosts on how to behave to prevent the spread of the virus”. On 27 April, however, Alda Re of the LasciateCIEntare campaign contradicted these statements. She claimed that: “personal protective equipment have never been provided, even though we are aware that the State has granted specific fundings for these centres to make up for equipment deficiencies, we are also sure that the areas have never been sanitised”.

7. What measures have been taken to comply with necessary social distancing requirements?

No information is available on the measures taken, if any, to fulfil social distancing requirements. On a general note, the National Guarantor has observed that the structures of CPRs make social spacing very difficult.

8. What measures have been taken to ensure that detainees continue to maintain contact with their family and friends in such a difficult time?

At the outbreak of the emergency, detainees worried that they could not contact their families. The circumstances were the following: as per protocol, upon their arrival, police break phone cameras, in the center there was no internet connection, and, differently from prison, no video calls were allowed. As of 21 April, the situation appears to have changed. The National Guarantor affirmed that the a video call system has been facilitated and expanded in the centre. It is used to maintain contact with family, friends, legal advisors and local Guarantors.

9. Are NGOs, monitors and/or volunteers continuing to enter in detention and meet detainees? If yes, what measures have been put in place to ensure their health protection? If no, what measures have been put in place to ensure that detainees continue to receive the kind of support they used to receive from these groups?

No information has been provided on the matter. 

10. What measures have been taken to protect vulnerable groups (e.g., victims of gender violence and torture; people facing mental health challenges)?

No information has been provided on the matter. 

11. What measures have been taken to protect staff working with detainees? Has there been an increase or decrease in the number of staff since the COVID-19 crisis started?

11. What measures have been taken to protect staff working with detainees? Has there been an increase or decrease in the number of staff since the COVID-19 crisis started?

With regard to National Guarantor Bulletin N.26, it can be assumed that the staff has been provided with appropriate hygiene and protection equipment.

12. What kind of legal measures are individuals and/or organisations pursuing in response to COVID?

Since early March, there has been a wide mobilisation of the civil society  all over the country. Both jointly and individually organisations have pursued several actions - these include:

In this framework, legal measures have been based on the of illegitimacy and unreasonableness of immigration detention in the current national and international contexts. Requests to stop entries in CPRs emerged right at the start of the health emergency. Appeals have been submitted to Courts’ specialised departments and Justices of the Peace asking them not confirm nor extend detention orders, as well as to local bar associations urging them to monitor detention hearings and provide public defenders with all the information. Core arguments have been: the impossibility to comply with the measures foreseen to guarantee individuals’ health; the lack of real possibilities of effective repatriation; the suspension of hearings; and the availability of accommodation outside detention. On top of that, calls have been launched to ensure adequate reception protocols, and guarantee detainees’ relations with the outside world.