GUWAHATI: The Assam Government has so far released around 400 undertrial prisoners from different jails in the State by adhering to the Supreme Court’s latest directive to decongest jails in the country in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
On March 16, the Supreme Court took suo moto cognizance of the risk of COVID-19 infection spreading within and from the “overcrowded” prisons across the country. The Court observed that social distancing was difficult inside prisons.
Accordingly the Supreme Court had asked the State governments to consider giving parole to those facing up to seven-year jail term in a bid to decongest prisons on account of the COVID-19 outbreak. The apex Court said that prisoners convicted or charged with offences and having prison terms up to seven years can be given parole to decongest the jail.
Following the SC directive, the Assam Government had constituted a high-powered committee to suggest measures to decongest the jails in the State and release the prisoners. As per the advice of the committee, the government has so far released nearly 400 undertrial prisoners. While 15 such prisoners were released from the Guwahati Central Jail on Saturday, 41 were released on Sunday.
Assam has 31 jails, including six central jails, 22 district jails, a sub-jail, an open jail and a special jail in which some 8,257 prisoners are lodged. Besides, there are six detention centres for illegal foreigners inside these jails which house around 834 individuals.