Spike in Covid cases: 3,500 to 4,000 more prisoners to be released from Punjab jails : The Tribune India

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Spike in Covid cases: 3,500 to 4,000 more prisoners to be released from Punjab jails

9,500 jail inmates were released earlier

Spike in Covid cases: 3,500 to 4,000 more prisoners to be released from Punjab jails

Photo for representation



Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11

Punjab would soon release 3,500 to 4,000 prisoners in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in the state. Earlier, 9,500 were released.

Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said this decision has been taken to bring the number of prisoners to the 50 per cent of the authorised capacity so as to provide adequate space for keeping the prisoners under quarantine besides ensuring social distancing.

Randhawa said this exercise is being undertaken considering the relaxations in lockdown restrictions, increase in number of new inmates owing to spiralling of crime rate, regarding which the recommendations were made by the High Powered Committee on the orders of the Supreme Court.

The minister said the average admission in Special Jails is around 3,000 per month, due to which the present population of jails stands at around 17,500, which is approximately 73% of total capacity. 449 prisoners and 77 prison officials have tested COVID positive till date. Most of the above cases have been detected in last few weeks though 2-levels of testing of all prisoners had started since mid-May.

The minister added that considering the challenges faced by the Prison Administration related to containment of COVID and related issues, third meeting of the High Powered Committee was held on August 31 to achieve further decongestion of jails to bring the population down to around 50% of authorised capacity, ensure sufficient social distancing, provide sufficient space for quarantining those being shifted from Special Jails to the regular jails.

Since 80% of total population is of under-trials, the criteria for recommending the release of prisoners was of under-trials only, and mainly of those accused under NDPS Act, with recovery up to intermediate quantity and not having more than 3 cases.

Other Sections of IPC which have been included for recommending release on Interim-bail are 379, 420,406, 452, 323, 324, 188, 336, 316, 279, 170, 337, 338, 315 and 498-A. In addition to new criteria, it has been reiterated that interim bail of all the prisoners presently out from jail on Interim bail, may be extended further till the notification of Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 is in force. The Committee has also recommended that cases of COVID positive prisoners may be taken up on priority basis by Judicial officers concerned for interim bail.


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