COVID-19 Outbreak: Covid-19 outbreak: Odisha forms committee to release prisoners, decongest jails | Bhubaneswar News timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha government on Thursday constituted a high-powered committee to identify prisoners, who can be released on parole or temporary bail in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak. The committee has been set up in consonance with a recent Supreme Court directive to all states to decongest the jails to prevent spread of novel coronavirus.
According to the state home department’s notification, the high-powered committee has three members—chairman of Odisha state legal services authority, state home secretary and director general of police (prisons and correctional services). “The committee will determine the category of prisoners, their nature of offences and quantum of sentence before considering their release to decongest the jails. The committee is entrusted to decide for release of prisoners, who have been convicted for seven years, or under trial prisoners (UTPs), whose offence draws maximum punishment up to seven years,” the notification said.
Odisha has 90 jails with a capacity to accommodate 18,012 inmates. But, currently around 15,789 inmates, including 3594 convicts have been lodged in those jails. At present, no foreign inmate is lodged in any jail in the state, sources said.
DGP (prisons and correctional services) Santosh Upadhyay said a number of precautionary measures were taken to prevent spread of Covid-19 in jails. “We already reduced movement of prisoners to courts on the hearing dates to ensure their social distancing. The prison officials facilitated video-conferencing (VC) from jail premises for court hearings. We have introduced e-mulakat (e-meeting between prisoners and their family members, relatives and lawyers) in jails,” Upadhyay said. He said jail authorities have also been asked to keep new under trial prisoners (UTPs), who have been coming to judicial custody since last few days, under quarantine in separate cells for some days.

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