Govt to set up temporary prisons to stop the spread of COVID-19 in jails

In its attempt to decongest jails, the state government has decided to establish temporary jails to save the inmates from getting infected from coronavirus. The step has been taken after 158 inmates from the Arthur Road jail have recently been tested positive for COVID-19.

On Friday, the Home Ministry has issued a Government Resolution (GR) to establish the temporary prisons and has empowered the district collectors to establish temporary prisons as per the section 7 or Prisons Act. The GR states that, as per the requirements, the district collectors can undertake public or private buildings and turn them into a temporary prison. The guidelines for the temporary jails will be set by the Additional Director of Police (jail), stated in the GR.

Recently, 158 inmates and 28 jail staff from the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai were tested positive for COVID-19. The Arthur Road jail is one of the most congested prison in the state with thrice the number of inmates than its official capacity. One of the inmates from Byculla Women's Jail was also tested positive for coronavirus.

Following the spread of COVID-19 in Arthur Road jail, the state's high-power committee, chaired by Justice AA Sayed and comprising Additional chief secretary Sanjay Chahande and Director General of Prisons SN Pandey has decided to release 50% of prisoners on emergency parole from jails across the state.

As per the figures provided by the jail authorities, in past one week, 2005 prisoners were released from the jails as of Thursday.

The maximum number of prisoners were 284 prisoners released by Nashik Road Central Prison, this was followed by Aurangabad Central Prison and Paithan Open Prison with 232 and 250 prisoners released respectively. From the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai so far 6 inmates have been released.

After the outbreak of the virus around 7000 prisoners were released from the jails since March 28.

So far the state has also released 17 under trials, 15 have been released on bail from the Thane Central prison, while 2 have been released from Arthur Road jail.

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