All Maha prisons to set up quarantine facilities

March 17, 2020

The state department of prisons on Monday decided to set up isolation and quarantine facilities at each jail across Maharashtra.

Additional director general of police (prisons) Sunil Ramanand and other senior officials met here to review the situation in jails in the wake of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. They decided to initiate measures for decongestion of the prisons to avert any health trouble.

As of now, close to 38,000 inmates, including convicts and undertrial prisoners, are lodged in nine central jails, 28 district prisons, a jail for women and 13 open prisons. Almost 50% of this jail population are accounted by prisons in Mumbai, Thane and Pune.

“To begin with, we have set up a quarantine facility in Pune’s Yerawada central prison. It has the capacity to accommodate 50 patients,” Ramanand told TOI, added that each prison in the state would eventually have such facility. “If any inmate shows any symptoms of Covid-19, the prison doctors will examine and refer him or her to the quarantine facility,” he added.

Ramanand said, “We have decided to go for 100% implementation of the video-conferencing system for production of the accused before court for regular dates of case hearing across Maharashtra. No inmate will be physically taken out of the prison for court hearings till further orders. All arrested suspects, referred by courts to jail under judicial/magisterial custody, will be physically examined at the outer gate before being admitted to the prison.”

He said, “We will procure digital thermometers for each prison. The jail guards will take down the temperature of the accused persons before making an entry. The arrested persons will be checked at the outer gates of the prisons before being taken inside the prisons. Also, the prison administration will expedite release of the inmates, arrested in minor or moderate criminal cases, who have secured bail from courts.”

Ramanand also issued orders to the deputy inspector general of police (prisons) to shift the inmates from the crowded jails of Mumbai, Thane and Pune to other jails in the state. He said the prison authorities would discourage visitors to the jails.

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