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Coronavirus update: Odisha suggests release of 1700 inmates to decongest jails

Odisha’s prison department officials said a committee was set up in accordance with a recent Supreme Court directive to all states for decongesting jails to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Updated: Mar 29, 2020 09:07 IST

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Bhubaneswar

Odisha has 90 jails with a capacity to accommodate 18,012 inmates. (File photo for representation)

The Odisha government has suggested the release of 1700 undertrials and convicts on parole to decongest the state’s jails and maintain social distancing norms as one of the several measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, the coronavirus disease.

Odisha’s prison department officials said a committee was set up in accordance with a recent Supreme Court directive to all states for decongesting jails to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“On Friday, 60 jail inmates were allowed to go on parole and more would be allowed in the coming days. Individual jails in the districts have committees that can decide on the release of inmates on parole as per the guidelines for anything between five to seven days,” Santosh K Upadhyay, director-general of prisons, said.

Odisha has 90 jails with a capacity to accommodate 18,012 inmates. Currently, around 15,789 inmates, including 3594 convicts have been lodged in those jails. Early this month, the ministry of home affairs in a letter to all states had advised several steps to reduce movement of prisoners including their production in courts.



Upadhyay said early this month that all jail superintendents had been advised to prevent gathering inside and outside prisons and motivate all prisoners to wash their hands three times a day before eating.

The jail superintendents were also asked to keep an eye on the prisoners who had sore throat, cough, fever and cold so that they can be lodged separately in isolation wards.

“We also moved a lot of prisoners in overcrowded jails to other jails to prevent the possibility of an outbreak of the virus,” he said.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the country, all visits by NGOs for educational activities have already been suspended for a month and jail cooks have been asked to wear face masks.

Visitors have been asked to avail the facility of e-mulakat or visit facility from their homes instead of coming to the jails physically.

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