Kerala

1,000 prisoners to walk free for a month

The COVID-19 scare has come as a blessing for around 1,000 remand and undertrial prisoners of Kerala, who would be released from jails shortly.

The State would soon set them free for one month as the Kerala High Court passed an order for their release on Monday to de-congest the jails in the wake of viral disease outbreak.

There are around 4,600 such prisoners in the State.

The prisoners who are thus set free will have to report back to the jail after the expiry of the 30-day-period.

The Jail Department, in consultation with the State government, had earlier released 711 convicts, including those who were awarded imprisonment of above seven years and even life term. Those who have been awarded their eligible parole of 60 days shall return on the expiry of the term. Others will have to get back to the prison by April 16.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had asked the State governments and Union Territories to release such prisoners to cut the probability of the virus disease spreading among the jail inmates.

The undertrial prisoners are those who are in jail as the trial in cases involving them are pending in courts. In these cases, the police would have filed the chargesheet in the courts earlier.

Remand prisoners are those who have been arrested by the police for their suspected involvement in crimes and jailed during the course of investigation. The police investigation would be pending completion in such cases.

The benefit of the scheme will not be extended to those have been incarcerated for multiple offences. Habitual offenders will continue in their prison cells as their release could trigger trouble. Prison officials will be screening the individual cases before picking the beneficiaries of the scheme, said S. Santhosh, DIG Prisons (Headquarters).

The Kerala jails are considered to be less crowded when compared to other parts of the country as they together houses an excess crowd of six per cent above its capacity, he said.

The Central Jails of Poojappura and Viyyoor are housing inmates beyond their capacity. While the Poojappura jail would have around 1,400 inmates, nearly the double number of its capacity, the one at Viyyoor would have around 900 on a given day against its capacity of 500 persons. The jails in the Thiruvananthapuram are relatively crowded as the prisoners from Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts are accommodated there. While the Alapuzha prison was being repaired, the one at Pathanamthitta was closed down, he said.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2020 4:54:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/1000-prisoners-to-walk-free-for-a-month/article31211317.ece

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