First batch of inmates released on bail, parole due to pandemic returns to Chandigarh jail

The first batch of inmates, who were among the 249 prisoners let out on special bail and parole because of the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year, returned to the Model Jail on Monday.

Of the 40 prisoners in the first batch, 38 reported at the jail and all of them tested negative for Covid-19 through Rapid Antigen Tests. They have been shifted into the special barrack set up on the jail premises for 10-day quarantine.

The next batch of convicted prisoners will return on November 22, and thereafter, another batch of undertrials on December 12.

Earlier in March, a special committee was constituted for decongestion of jails to check the spread of infection. On September 29, the panel’s chairman, Justice Jaswant Singh of Punjab and Haryana high court, had directed the prison authorities to submit a detailed plan for re-admission of prisoners in a staggered manner, while keeping the gravity of offence/punishment in view.

After the prison authorities informed that all necessary arrangements had been made, the panel directed the re-admission of inmates from November 16.

Adequate seating arrangements have been made for the returning prisoners in compliance with social distancing norms and a team from the UT health department is conducting the Rapid Antigen Tests.

The jail’s total sanctioned strength is 1,120 prisoners (1,000 males and 120 females). As of November 5, there were 779 inmates, including 741 men and 38 women.

A total of 202 prisoners, including 193 men and nine women, were released on special parole and another 47, including 46 men and one woman, on special interim bail.

With the 249 inmates returning to the jail premises, the total number of prisoners will increase to 1,028 (980 men and 48 women), which is well within the sanctioned capacity of the jail and will not result in congestion, the jail authorities said.

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