COVID-19 Latest updates in Victoria 1/5/2020

Lawyers are fighting to free high-risk inmate from Victorian prison during coronavirus pandemic

Full source: Virus fears prompt court fight to free Victorian prisoner (The Age; retrieved on 1/5/2020 from COVID-19 Prison Watch, Facebook); Risk of coronavirus outbreak in jail cited in vulnerable prisoner’s bid for temporary release (ABC News; retrieved on 1/5/2020)

Human right lawyers are fighting right now to free an inmate from a Victorian prison, who, due to multiple medical conditions, is at high-risk of contracting the coronavirus should an outbreak occur in the prison. 

If successful, this case will set the precedent for more inmates at high-risk to be released during this pandemic. 

The inmate could be granted a permit allowing him to be released and stay with his mother. 

However, the case is not likely to be an easy one, with strong resistance from the state and its solicitor-general, who insisted that risks of a prison outbreak is low, despite expert opinion that prisons are high-risk hotbeds for the coronavirus. 

Experts say prisons are especially vulnerable to an outbreak because inmates and guards work in close quarters, and guards frequently rotate between prisons and the community, thus possibly bringing the virus in. It may only take one asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic person to instigate an outbreak in prisons, according to Emrys Nekvapil, the lawyer in charge of the case. 

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