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The Philippines has the most crowded correctional system in the world. It's only a matter of time before the virus enters and spreads in prison and jail facilities. Humanitarian groups have called for the early release of elderly and sickly and nonviolent, low-risk detainees.

More than a century ago, Philippine prisons reeled from a flu pandemic. History might be repeated without adequate healthcare for prisoners and drastic interventions to stem the Covid-19 outbreak.

Warnings fell on deaf ears until infections began to sprout mid-April.

Three persons deprived of liberty describe how inhuman conditions in the country’s jails and prisons are placing them at greater risk amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are their accounts as told to Aie Balagtas See. The images, drawn by Alexandra Paredes, are artistic renderings inspired by PCIJ file photos of prisoners from various jails.

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