11,000 prisoners in Maharashtra to get parole: Minister

(Eds: Updates with additional inputs, quotes) Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI) Some 11,000 prisoners in Maharashtra, including those whose sentence period is less than seven years, will be released on parole for 45 days to reduce crowding and avoid spread of coronavirus in jails, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Thursday.

He made the announcement through an official tweet from his handle @AnilDeshmukhNCP.

The measure also covers under-trials, the minister said later.

'Some 11,000 prisoners or accused people whose sentence period is less than seven years, can be released on parole. I have already issued necessary orders to the prisons across the state,' Deshmukh said.

'There are some 45 prisons in the state, where this decision will be implemented,' said the home minister.

These 45 prisons house about 60,000 inmates, he said.

'This is a red flag and potential flashpoint for rapid spread of COVID-19 as prisoners are living in congested space, stated an official communication issued by Deshmukh later.

Under-trial prisoners and those convicted and sentenced to up to seven years in jail - their combined figure stands at approximately 11,000 - will be released on parole, initiatively for 45 days, Deshmukh said.

These prisoners will have to undergo a medical check- up and will be issued necessary passes to facilitate journey to their native places, he said.

At 130, Maharashtra tops in number of COVID-19 patients in the country. PTI ND RSY RSY