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COVID-19: 3,000 inmates released from West Bengal jails

COVID-19: 3,000 inmates released from West Bengal jails
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530
Kolkata, May 17 (PTI) The West Bengal government has

released around 3,000 inmates on bail or parole to decongest

correctional homes since the last week March in the wake of

the COVID-19 outbreak, an official said on Sunday.

The department of correctional services has also taken

several measures to check coronavirus infection inside the

jails of the state.

The official said there are around 60 correctional

homes in West Bengal, housing nearly 25,000 inmates and of

them, close to 7,000 are convicts while others are

undertrials.

"So far, more than 3,000 inmates have been granted

bail or parole. Out of whom, around 2,000 are under trial

prisoners and the remaining are convicts. We have taken other

measures such as ensuring that the inmates use protective

gears and maintain social distancing norms in correctional

homes," the senior jail official said.

Earlier, the department also disallowed prison visits

by family members.

"This decision of not allowing family members to meet

the inmates has helped a lot in containing the situation.

Initially, the prisoners had protested against this decision,

but later they accepted it," Correctional Services Minister

Ujjal Biswas said.

The decision had even led to clashes between inmates

and guards at a jail in Kolkata in March, where prisoners

pelted stones and set prison properties on fire.

The Calcutta High Court on March 24 formed a three-

member panel to examine the situation in all correctional

homes of West Bengal and prepare a report on the number of

inmates who could be granted bail or parole to avoid crowding

in jails, in view of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The department then prepared a list of inmates

eligible for parole and bail and forwarded it to the court.

Inmates were released following the guideline laid

down by the court, the official said.

The high court took up the issue suo motu following a

Supreme Court direction, asking all state governments and

Union territories to set up high-level committees to determine

the class of prisoners who could be released on parole for

four to six weeks.

The apex court had said prisoners convicted of or

charged with offences having prison terms up to seven years

can be given parole to decongest the jails.

According to the website of the West Bengal

Correctional Services department, the state has six central

correctional homes, 12 district correctional homes, three

special correctional homes, two women''s correctional homes,

one open-air correctional home, and 33 subsidiary correctional

homes.

The combined registered capacity of these facilities

is 20,802 including 1,637 females. PTI PNT

NN NN


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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