Mumbai: COVID-19 tests must for new jail inmates

Mumbai: The impregnable stone walls of the state jails are not foolproof enough to stop a suspect visitor from entry. In a bid to safeguard the inmates lodged in various jails from the novel Coronavirus, the Maharashtra prison authoritiy has made COVID 19 tests mandatory for every new inmate. The police have been told to check for COVID 19 tests. The jail authorities have warned that sans the doctors certificate new inmates will not be allowed in jails.

"In the wake of coronavirus the new inmates are tested at civil hospital before they are lodged in jails," said Sunil Ramanandan, ADG Prison, Maharashtra. 

The jail authorities are accepting only those criminals who have passed the Coronavirus test. The police have been asked to take the accused to designated hospitals for the COVID 19 tests and take the doctors certificate. In Mumbai the accused have been taken to civic run Kasturba hospital where they have been checked for Coronavirus symptoms. 

At the hospitals, doctors first ask accused about history of their foreign travel and then are examined for COVID 19 symptoms. It is only following the doctor's clearnance certificate are the jailbirds allowed to enter the prison. The precautionary measures also extend to existing inmates. In the event of existing inmates displaying any symptoms appropriate care is taken.

“ We have isolation cells if any existing inmate is showing symptoms the inmate will be first shifted to the isolation cells. They will be taken to the government designated hospitals for the necessary check-ups thereafter," informed Deepak Pandey IG prisons South Maharashtra. 

The capacity of the Maharashtra jails is 24,000 however there are around 36,000 inmates currently lodged  in jails across the state. To decongest the jails, the prisons department is giving temporary bail to petty criminals.  

Out of these36,000 inmates, 8500 are convicts serving their sentence, while 27,500 are undertrials. Out of the undertrials,10000 are petty criminals accused of mobile stealing and pick-pocketing.  To decongest the jails, the prison department will approach the courts seeking 15 days of bail. 

While seeking bail, police will make sure they have records so that those granted bail don't turn delinquent and can be traced again.

The inmates are came in contact with jail staff and court staff when they are taken to the court. Furthermore, they also meet their family members during the visit. The prison authority has decided that they won't be allowed to meet their family members for the next two weeks. They have also asked jail staff to follow hygiene rules.

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