Prisons are often overcrowded. Prisoners are forced to work 12-hour days and are punished if they do not meet production quotas, former political prisoners report. Detainees have no effective complaint mechanism to seek redress for abuses. Those who criticize the government or engage in hunger strikes and other forms of protest often endure extended solitary confinement, beatings, restriction of family visits, and denial of medical care.
While the government allowed select members of the foreign press on controlled visits to a handful of prisons in 2013, it continues to deny international human rights groups and independent Cuban organizations access to prisons.
In April, to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading in prisons, the government suspended family visits, restricted the type of food family members could send prisoners, and, in a welcome development, released more than 6,500 people. Independent media have reported cases of detainees being isolated with suspected Covid-19 cases in some prisons. However, as of October 2020, the Ministry of Health had not confirmed any cases of Covid-19 in prisons.
Source : World Report 2021
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