Women convicts with their minor children living in cells have found the COVID-19 outbreak turning to their favour.
Children below six years are considered minors in jail parlance. The mothers of such children, who are spending their life in the prisons, can walk to freedom for 30 days with their wards by making use of the amnesty scheme of the government.
Imprisoned mothers with minor children staying outside are also eligible for a relaxation in their prison life.
The State government has issued orders allowing 30 days’ parole for such women prisoners.
The initiative comes as part of the efforts to decongest the jails in the wake of the pandemic and to prevent the inmates from falling sick in prison cells. Women convicts aged above 50 years are also covered by the scheme. Pregnant women, who are cooling their heels in the prison cells, also could take a month’s break. However, primary indications are that no pregnant women are being housed in the Kerala jails. The State has around 120 women inmates in its jails.
The State government has also decided to release male prisoners aged above 60 years for 30 days parole. The prisoners who were under various medical treatment as inpatients in the jails and other medical facilities, would also be thus released.
The Hindu had earlier reported that the Prisons Department had moved such a proposal for releasing the elders considering the fact that they were vulnerable to the viral disease.
A government order on the release of such prisoners was issued on Friday, said S. Santhosh, DIG (Prisons) Head Quarters. As many as 350 persons could benefit from the scheme, Mr. Santhosh said.
The government has also asked the Prisons Department to consider the remission of jail term of prisoners, who have completed two-thirds of the period behind the bars. The remaining imprisonment period of such prisoners, which could come to an end in a couple of months, could be waived-off under the scheme, sources said.
Earlier, the government had extended the parole period of 105 prisoners, who were out on bail before the amnesty scheme, by 15 days. These prisoners need to come back only on April 30, the sources said.