4,204 prisoners released on bail, 41 on parole after COVID outbreak in J&K: DGP, prisons

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Jammu, Mar 28 (PTI) Over 4,200 prisoners were released on bail and 41 on parole since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March last year, Director General of Police (DGP), Prisons, V K Singh has said.

He said there is only one COVID-positive patient among the prisoners, who is being treated at a hospital in Kathua district.

'Since March last year, 4,204 inmates were released on bail and 41 on parole, in pursuance of decisions taken by the high-powered committee (constituted on the Supreme Court's directions to decongest jails to ensure social distancing among prisoners),' Singh said.

Speaking at a cultural programme organised at the Amphalla District Jail here on Saturday, he said a total of 542 inmates across various jails were infected with the coronavirus, but all of them recovered, except two elderly prisoners who succumbed due to co-morbidities.

'Presently, there is only one COVID case from the Kathua District Jail, who is admitted to the local Government Medical College,' the DGP said.

He said the prisons department has introduced a video-conferencing facility for the purpose of trial and remand, the e-mulaqat facility and the Prison Inmate Calling System, besides setting up modern interview rooms in jails.

He said a cognitive behavioural therapy was taken up for inmates suffering from insomnia and it benefitted 135 of them -- 74 in Kot Bhalwal, Jammu and 61 in the Amphalla District Jail.

The inmates sang folk songs, Bollywood classics and Sufi songs during the programme, which received a thunderous applause from the audience.

Jammu District Jail Superintendent Mirza Saleem Beig highlighted various steps taken by the prisons department for the welfare of prisoners and strengthening the prison administration.

He said the prison administration is committed to providing better correctional programmes to the inmates, including educational and vocational-training courses, awareness programmes and recreational activities. PTI TAS RC