COVID-19 pandemic

Authorities seek temporary plan for new prison inmates

Initiate process for granting special parole to petty criminals to decongest jail

Authorities seek temporary plan for new prison inmates

Papaya can be seen strewn all over the wholesale vegetable and fruit market in Amritsar on Friday.

PK Jaiswar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 27

Even as the Amritsar Central Jail authorities are keeping new prisoners coming to jail in separate barracks for at least 10 days, but they sought that the government should allot separate buildings with heavy police security to keep them separate for 14 days before sending them to jails.

The Covid-19 symptoms develops after six or seven days and if any infected person is lodged in jail, it would prove costly putting many lives at stake, said highly placed sources in the central jail here. They said daily around 20-30 new prisoners were coming to jail.

The high security jail housed around 3,400 prisoners and out of them 1,200 were drug addicts taking medicines from OAAT centres. Besides, around 300 inmates were suffering from hepatitis C and 20 are patients of tuberculosis. A large number of them are suffering from skin and other diseases.

Though the jail inmates were already in isolation, but their immunity level is very weak. The Covid can spread in jail at very high rate and could create havoc in the jail premises.

Meanwhile, the jail authorities have initiated the process of extension (of parole) to prisoners who are already out on parole. Besides, they are also preparing lists of jail inmates lodged in the premises on petty offences, will be released on bail.

The government decided to decongest the prisons in wake of Covid outbreak in the world. Under this programme, around 6,000 inmates lodged for petty crimes would be released on bail or parole. A high-powered committed under the chairmanship of Punjab Legal Services Authority, Principal Secretary Jails and ADGP prisons was made following the directions of apex court. It circulated the criteria for releasing them.

Arshdeep Singh, Superintendent, Amritsar Central Jail, said convicts would be released on parole while undertrials would be released on interim bail of six weeks.

“A meeting was held with the Deputy Commissioner and the District and Sessions Judge in this connection. We are preparing list of undertrials and convicts who could be released on bail after filling personal surety bonds,” said Arshdeep, while adding that those who were convicted for heinous crimes would not be considered for this.

No outsider is allowed to enter the premises, he said. Only one cop was allowed near the entrance gate of jail and they were sanitised before entering the complex. He said jail premises were also sanitised at regular intervals. The jail authorities also checked for fever and other symptoms before allowing them, he added. 

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