Coronavirus: Maharashtra prison to grant temporary bail to petty criminals to decongest jails

Published: 19 March, 2020 12:17 IST | Vishal Singh | Mumbai

There is a total of 36,000 inmates in jails across the state

This picture has been used for representational purposes.
This picture has been used for representational purposes.

Coronavirus scare is bad news for the entire world but shockingly not for the inmates lodged in Maharashtra jails for minimal crimes. Maharashtra State Prison is giving temporary bail to those who are accused of minimal crimes to decongest the jails.

There are a total of 36,000 inmates in jails across the state. Out of these, 8,500 are convicts and serving their term, and 27500 are undertrials. Out of these undertrials, around 10,000 are accused of minimal crimes like pick-pocketing, mobile stealing, petty assault cases. The Maharashtra Prison department will make a list of these accused based on the courts which are looking into their matters. Once the list will be prepared, the prison department will approach the courts, provide them the list of the accused in their jurisdiction and seek a 15 days bail for these accused. 

Now, this list will only comprise undertrials who have families and their proper record is available. This is to ensure that those who get the bail won't run away and even if anyone tries, the accused can be traced. Also, as per procedure, the local police will also get directions from the court to keep an eye on these accused.

Sunil Ramanandan, ADG Prison, Maharashtra, told Midday, "Jails also have to be decongested. This is a temporary bail, the undertrials will be back after 15 days and hopefully, the threat regarding Coronavirus will also not be there after two weeks."

A senior cop told mid-day that at present there are 36,000 inmates in state's jails but the capacity of these jails is only 24,000. Obviously the jails are overcrowded. The inmates also come in contact with jail staff, court staff when taken to court and their family members who come to visit them. So if any of these outsiders are positive, there is a chance that it can affect the inmates too.

For the convicts, the prison department has decided that they won't be allowed to meet their family members for the next two weeks. As per rules, the family members of the inmates are allowed to visit the inmates in the jail once a week.

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