4500 Prisoners Shifted, No Jail Inmate Released on Parole or Interim Bail in Bihar

The Bihar government has shifted around 4,500 prisoners from overcrowded jails to lesser-crowded ones but has not released a single inmate either on parole or interim bail, a senior officer said.

When asked why no prisoner was enlarged on interim bail or released on parole despite the apex court's order, IG (Prisons) Mithilesh Mishra said, the inmates were not released on parole as they might become vulnerable to coronavirus and later spread the contagion once they return to the correctional facility.

The Supreme Court on March 23 had directed all states and Union Territories to constitute high-level committees to consider releasing on parole or interim bail prisoners and undertrials for offences entailing up to 7-year jail term to decongest prisons in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

The top court had said overcrowding of prisons is a matter of serious concern, particularly in the present context of coronavirus (COVID 19).

"Once the inmates are released, it is very difficult to know whether they are coming in contact with a COVID-19 infected person. They are much more safe and secure inside a jail," Mishra said.

As many as 1,200 inmates have been shifted from Patnas Beur jail to lesser-crowded prisons, he said.

Apart from this, 500 prisoners each from Sitmarhi and Chapra jails, 350 inmates from a correctional home in Motihari, 300 from Aurangabad, 200 prisoners each from Madhepura and Barh, 100 from Muzaffarpur and 70 from Bhabhua have also been shifted, he said.

One thousand prisoners lodged in other crowded jails have also been shifted, he said.

"We have completed the process of shifting around 4,500 inmates to lesser-crowded jails of the state. The move will help maintain social distancing norms inside jails," Mishra said.

No inmate has been transferred from Bhagalpur and Gaya jails as both the prisons have enough space, he said.