Nora Katona, Elisabeth Mayer
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has noticeably changed the way we interact and live in society. While it affects all of us, its impact is not the same for everyone. Persons deprived of liberty are in a particularly vulnerable situation. On the one hand, they depend on the state to ensure their health and well-being. In addition, the state must take all necessary precautions to prevent an outbreak. However, containing an outbreak in such settings is extremely difficult due to the proximity of living (exacerbated by the notorious overcrowding). On the other hand, the restrictions that were already imposed on the persons concerned before the outbreak of COVID-19 were further tightened due to the pandemic (e.g. through restrictions on family visits).
There is no one-size-fits-all approach for managing the pandemic in closed institutions, which explains, why countries have responded differently to specific circumstances. In all their differences, they however have in common that the treatment of persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities deprived of liberty poses a great challenge to most countries, even under regular conditions prior to the pandemic. The current pandemic magnified and amplified these challenges.
The present report discusses which challenges institutions encounter in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria, Germany and Italy and gives recommendations on how to mitigate them to improve the situation of persons concerned.
Information about the project and the final comparative infographics are available on the project page.